George Washington’s wooden teeth, the Pilgrim’s amicable Thanksgiving Dinner, Honest Abe’s inability to lie are all examples of the American mythos- a part of our proud heritage that is as ingrained in our story as the realities of the American Revolution or Pearl Harbor. Despite these example’s importance in the creation of a colorful past, not all of them are what one would call exactly accurate. Much like the popular “telephone” game played by children, the constant retelling of the past often causes distortions and over exaggerations with each recitation causing our forefathers and mothers to become victims of their own fame.
For this assignment you will choose an American (not necessarily one born in America) who lived during the time parameters of this class. Using academic resources you will conduct a fictional interview of that person and write a report of that interview. You can choose to do this in whatever style you would like. For example, you can choose to tell it from the first person as the interviewee, or instead you could use the third person and be the interviewer. Your paper can be written as a report, a diary entry or as an interview that includes he said she said. Be creative! However, regardless of what format you choose in order to receive full credit you must address the following points:
Give a brief summary of your interviewee’s life. Be sure to put it into historical context. (ie when did you live and what was going on during your life)
Give an example of a popular myth or distortion about your interviewee’s life that he or she found the most surprising? (For example you could use George Washington’s wooden teeth, Paul Revere’s infamous night ride, or possibly a section from the book (or Movie) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.)
Lastly, you must provide an example of what your interviewee considers to be his or her most noteworthy contribution to American History. This could be something good or bad.