In the American Grain Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What do you think will happen to the "credulous and literal-minded" if they walk into the "ancient trap" that Gregory considers history to be?

Gregory seems to suspect that the "credulous and literal-minded" are in danger of putting history on a pedestal, regarding all historical facts as true or untrue, without any understanding of culture or context. They may not realize that history can have more than one perspective or that different people may view the same historical events in different ways.

2. Why does Gregory think that history is important?

Gregory says that history shapes us and makes us what we are. People do not arise in a vacuum, but develop in a context that includes all the people who came before.

3. Gregory says that In the American Grain is not a historical textbook or book of essays. What is it?

Gregory regards The American Grain as a source-book. The American Grain can be used as a place to discover new things about history, rather than as a place to revisit the old conventional truths about American history.

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