A letter from a reader: Making history lessons more provocative

March 19, 2008:

Professor Stanley Katz is certainly right that the teaching of history should be made as interesting and thought-provocative as possible (Perspective, Nov. 21). Here's how to do just that for the annual Constitution Day mandated by Congress: Have an Oxford Union-type debate on a constitutional topic of great interest. Suggested topics: Resolved, … :

-- Bush v. Gore was an unconstitutional and politically motivated overreaching of judicial power.

-- Amendment Ten makes it clear that the abortion decision is solely that of the states. 

-- Torture, although both cruel and unusual, is not a punishment and is therefore not prohibited by the Constitution and may be used when required to protect national security.

-- Jefferson was right and Marshall was wrong. The Supreme Court has no constitutional right to conduct judicial review.

-- Since 85 Federalist Papers were needed to sell ratification of the Constitution, it is clear that the "original intent" of the founders was anything but clear. Therefore, conscience should guide the court in its decisions today, rather than a reading of the founders' minds.    

I'd pay to see any one of these debates. Does Princeton have faculty members who could carry them out with brilliance and panache? 

Chevy Chase, Md.

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