...."when is right wrong and left right?" Keith, I would be careful posing that question in today's political environment. You might not like the answer. Alan posited that history is about what people did, thought, and felt. The latter two often must be deduced from their actions and the context of what happened. I had a wonderful history teacher for two years in high school. Thank you George Griffin. He had a way of sparking our interest and encouraging us to read on our own outside class. Doing this sucessfully defeats the time restraints teachers work under. Current history and politics was taught in my time, 1944-1956, in civics class. (Of course, a lot has happened since then.) I sometimes think today's "leaders" don't want us too well informed, nor taught to do critical tinking. If today's students had to study Greek, Latin, and philosophy as those of the late 1700s and early 1800s did, they would revolt. Those subjects require actual intellectual effort. In the book, The Oregon Trail, there is a remarkable list of the books pioneers took west with them, and actually read, and were reluctant to discard when loads had to be lightened. Literacy was around ninety percent in some groups.
Many mountain men were very intelligent, if unlettered. Jim Bridger could recite sections of Shakespeare. Jedediah Smith carried and studied a Bible on his travels, until he was was killed by Indians in 1831. Kit Carson was illiterate, at least early in life, yet led expeditions and blazed trails all over the west. He fought the Navajo during the WTBS, becoming a General. If our childeren could only be inspired, they could learn and do almost anything. Stan