"A PEOPLE WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE
OF THEIR PAST HISTORY, ORIGIN,
AND CULTURE IS LIKE A TREE
As the frontier was won and people built towns and cities there was some things that were very common that we have lost. Even before the arrival of the churches and society according to author Louis L Amour you could sit around the campfire and one man may not know how to read and write, one may be a man of letters, one may be descended of royalty.
One of the most precious items carried by many, and kept by many were books. And only the best books because of the weight and bulk it had to be very select as to the books that were kept and cherished.
In most towns and villages there were literary societies that met on a regular basis to discuss books, ideas, and events of the day. Winfield was a great example of the esteem that these things were held in general.
The Chautauqua movement came to Winfield Kansas in June of 1887 holding it's first assembly in what is now Island Park. An open pavilion called a Tabernacle was built in 1887 and a Hall of Philosophy was added in 1902. A lecture hall was added in 1903 along with tennis courts and a croquet field.
The Chautauqua was a series that lasted for several days bringing the news makers and thinkers of the day to lecture on a variety topics. It offered the diversion that the movies, television, and now computers do. But the later is filled with content that is vastly inferior to the quality of the day.
Today the Chautauqua is a sponsored program that goes to four towns a year at different locations around the state with first person re-enactors and those whose scholarship of the subject personality can portray the original person, explain the times that they were in and the thinking of the time, and answer questions about them in todays reference.
Today when there is discussion it does not seem to be about topics that would expand the thinking of each other. We divide ourselves into groups and camps and there seems to be no common ground anymore. We have been led into the thinking that if we don't agree on everything we cannot be friends and the differences are not discussed but turns into shouting matches and hard feelings.
It seems that facts and truths are not enough to solve a problem and come to a solution. It seems that the thinking is taken from que's from partisan groups.
Now the history that the Chautauqua promotes has gone the way of revision. History is not taught in the proper context nor even accurately and the new curriculum is even worse that, that was taught to me. As time goes on it is irritating that the history that I was taught was not done as it should have been. And I hold my history teacher in high school as one of the best teachers that I had in school.
But there can be no movement to learn without the effort of the individual. When the Chautauqua came to my town there were only a handful show up, but a lot of people stared as they drove or walked by. Many never knew what the big tent was and did not have the curiosity to look in. Yet these are the same people who gripe about nothing to do.
Considering that the measure of a politician is the amount of money that they can raise to be elected it seems that we are at the point that we are ripe to lose our Republic.