- Historic Sites
Elting E. Morison
Elting E. Morison is Killian Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Articles by this Contributor
With Epcot, Walt Disney turned his formidable skills to building a city where man and technology could live together in perfect harmony. The result is part prophecy, part world’s fair. Here, America’s leading authority on technological history examines this urban experiment in the light of past world’s fairs, and tells why it fails where they succeeded—and why that matters.
A lot of people still remember how great it was to ride in the old Pullmans, how curiously regal to have a simple, well-cooked meal in the dining car. Those memories are perfectly accurate—and that lost pleasure holds a lesson for us that extends beyond mere nostalgia.
He had all the right qualities. Only the time was wrong.
At a time when our civilization is trying to organize itself on scientific principles of mathematical probabilities, statistical modeling, and the like, is traditional narrative history of any real use? Yes, says a distinguished practitioner of the discipline; it can always help us. It might even save us.
Chaos and farce and catastrophe played a big part. But so did a few men of vision.
Why do we need a national nonprofit membership society for American history?
“Save America’s Treasures” has been totally eliminated—the largest Federal program supporting preservation of such treasures as the original Star Spangled Banner and George Washington’s tent.
65% of Americans don’t know what happened at the Constitutional Convention, according to a recent survey by Newsweek.
The “Teaching American History” grants—the largest Federal program supporting history education—have been completely eliminated.
Visits to the Top 20 Civil War battlefields have dropped in half from 1970 to 2009 according to official National Park Service statistics.
40% of Americans can’t identify whom we fought in World War II, according to a recent survey by Newsweek.
A quarter of Americans believe Congress shares power over U.S. foreign policy with the United Nations, according to a recent Annenberg survey.
“There is little that is more important for an American citizen to know than the history and traditions of his country,” John F. Kennedy wrote in American Heritage.
The “We the People Program,” which touched some 30 million students and 90,000 teachers over 25 years, has been completely eliminated.
Two-thirds of Americans could not correctly name Yorktown as the last major military action of the American Revolution, according to a recent national Gallup survey.
The National Heritage Areas and Scenic Byways program, the only major Federal program encouraging visits to historic places, has been completely eliminated in Congressional committee.