Some people in history just don’t get the attention they deserve. We tend to pay attention the those who were the loudest or flashiest or wrote their own best selling book. However some really important things have happened because of some very ordinary people. One of the lessons that history should teach us is that it isn’t only the ‘great and powerful’ who make history. In fact most of history, the minor events which eventually make the great events possible, is the work of ordinary people and the decisions they decide to make day to day and hour to hour.
First, I want you to hear about how hard James K. Polk worked, but keep one thing in mind as you listen. The United States as a whole was caught up in and obsessed with this idea of Manifest Destiny. If the country hadn’t been thinking that way Polk would have found it nearly impossible (if not actually impossible) to acquire all that new territory and fight a war with Mexico no matter how hard he worked.
Second, consider what it would be like to be the brother of the man who shot Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth because very famous/infamous after killing Lincoln. This story asks you to think about the effect that might have had on his family. The assassination was horrible for the country as a whole, but also – in a very personal way – horrible for the assassin’s family.
Most of us (normal people) don’t make it into the history books. Write down your thoughts on how ordinary people can make history.