Essential Questions

  1. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? 
  2. What part does propaganda play in the production and consumption of values? 
  3. Is it ever appropriate to compromise the individual for the benefit of the state? 
  4. To what extent are people prone to letting themselves be manipulated? What are the effects?
  5. How did authoritarian leaders compromise individual natural rights? To what effect?  
  6. Can societies and peoples simultaneously guarantee equal rights and individuality? 
  7. Can one person make a difference in society? Can a small group of people? Which can make more of a difference? 
  8. To what extent did Orwell’s 1984 reflect the reality of totalitarian societies in the 20th Century World? 
  9. How does a historian’s depiction of the past influence our view of great men? 
  10. How can individuals or institutions control the future by controlling the past? How can individuals or institutions control the past by controlling the present? 
  11. To what extent are leaders responsible for creating the conditions for war and peace?
  12. Do great men cause historical events, or do they ride the wave of history?
  13. How can we analyze the course of history through an analysis of leaders and environment?
  14. To what extent are we the victims of sweeping historical forces? (Economic, ideological, environmental)
  15. What are the views of thinkers of the 19th and 20th Centuries on these questions?
  16. How did Hegel and Marx apply the dialectic differently when analyzing history?
  17. How can we use the dialectic to analyze historical events?
  18. Do people turn to narratives that employ the determinism of great men or gods in order to not to feel helpless in the face of historical forces?
  19. How have the theories of historical thinkers shaped the political and ideological landscape of the 20th and 21st Centuries? What sort of ideologies and leaders have their theories thrown up?
  20. How do these theories apply to your daily life? (In politics. In school. Among friends.)