The teacher who influenced me the most was Josiah Sheilds, my eighth grade American History teacher, whose class I entered 50 years ago this month. It was not his lectures that I remember, nor his homework assignments or tests. No, what fascinated me were the trials of historical figures he conducted in his class. Each month students charged and tried an important and controversial person of the time period being studied. Students took the roles of the accused, witnesses, lawyers, and jurors. The student lawyers had the largest roles, researching the time period, preparing opening and closing statements, recruiting and prepping witnesses, and cross-examining the opposition witnesses. Preparing a case required hours of research. In the process we realized that one had to consider not only what had happened, but why it had happened, what had motivated the participants, and what effects the actions of the accused had had. Suddenly history became not a list of facts to memorize, but a field rich with controversy, where the more you knew, the better you could substantiate your case. From reading bland textbooks and encyclopedias, we moved on to interpretive biographies and history magazines. Bus rides and lunchroom conversations began to focus on what