Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss Welcomes Participants to the 2014 AP® Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA
Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss Welcomes Participants to the 2014 AP® Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PAAbby Hexter, Assistant Director, Member Communications, The College Board
Award-winning historian Michael Beschloss opened the 2014 AP® Annual Conference with anecdotes and insights about the leaders that have shaped our nation. In describing the lives of leaders like President Abraham Lincoln, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Elvis Presley, Beschloss attempted to answer the question: why is history important in an era of instant access to real-time news and events?
“When we are trying to understand a president, as historians we are only doing our job if we become truly obsessed," he shared with the crowd. “In studying history, you’re getting a level of understanding that you can’t possibly get in real time. Wait 30 or 40 years and it will always look very different.” In order to lead in the future, students must learn to think like a historian, and understand the significance of the past.
His advice to the room of AP teachers was to focus on the following four facets of cultivating effective leadership.
1. Have the guts to make unpopular decisions.
2. Have the ability to defend those unpopular decisions.
3. Understand what happened before you.
4. Be able to work with those who disagree with you.