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Bill Billingsley

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Department of History



Welcome to Professor Billingsley's home page!

On this site you will find the information relevant to the courses (History 4, 5, 16, 17) that I've recently taught at Saddleback.  There are also course syllabi for recent or upcoming courses.  There is also a brief biographical sketch of the instructor.


The purpose of studying the human past is not to simply accumulate data, i.e. the “facts,” through rote memorization.  Rather, it is to unite the historical record with the human mind through analytical reasoning.  From this activity, we can acquire understanding or meaning of why and how developments took place and their significance for the era in which they occurred and perhaps beyond.


This task (it's called “study”) involves an encounter with a documented record (it's called “evidence”) that is most commonly found in written form.  This means that those who study (“students”) are expected/required to read.  The critical task of assigning meaning to the past (history is not to be discovered in natural, objective form) requires writing.  Those enrolling in my classes must be willing to do the assigned readings and write several (2-3 take-home essays) in addition to exams any quizzes.


The study of history can be intellectually stimulating and creative.  The essential skills of being an historian are the abilities to read and to reason. This suggests that the task of assigning meaning to the past can and should be a democratic project. This seems appropriate inasmuch as the making and shaping of the record of human activity has itself been a democratic project created by billions of the earth’s inhabitants.


Please do not hesitate to contact me should there be additional questions concerning course methods and requirements.


"Liberty leading the People"