History Is a 'Foible' Agreed Upon

Rob Kyff on

History repeats itself. After reading these sentences, taken from high school students' history papers and sent to me by teachers, let's hope not.

1. During the Glorious Revolution, Parliament decided to take power away from the thrown. (And soon the king had been overthrown.) 2. The Constitution tried to achieve parody among the states. (Check out Article II for a hilarious spoof of New Yorkers.)

3. Women were aloud to choose their own marriage partners. (Though many preferred the strong, silent type.) 4. In New England, the land was a virtual sea of patriots. (At least during catastrophic floods.)

5. The Eerie Canal in New York served as a great link between the Northeast and the West. (It must have included several war-"locks.") 6. The transition from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson was peaceful; people had been expecting a coo. (But no one had expected them to bill and coo.)

7. John Brown had a lot of demons to exercise. (All right, you devils! Jumping jacks ... ready, begin!) 8. The Puritans believed that God determined each person's salivation. (And that humans were created in His spitting image.)

9. Lincoln didn't want to upset the boarder states. (He was especially worried about idle roomers.) 10. The Whig Party split into the Cotton Whigs and the Conscious Whigs. (Also known as the "Wide Awakes.")

11. Our four fathers knew it was wrong. (Though the fifth was a little uncertain.) 12. Jackie took over the rains of the project for the President. (Apparently, it DID rain in Camelot.)


13. Many believed the U.S. should stop medaling in Latin American affairs. (And dominating the Pan-American Games?) 14. Europe had been carving out spears of influence in China. (Made of bamboo?)

15. Ever since the Civil War, no states have tried to succeed. (Well, there was California.) 16. Coxey's Army was a group of revolting farmers and workers. (Apparently they hadn't bathed or shaved at all during their long march to Washington.)


1. throne 2. parity 3. allowed 4. mixed metaphor -- "storehouse of patriots"? "hotbed of patriotism"? 5. Erie Canal 6. coup 7. exorcise 8. salvation 9. border 10. Conscience Whigs 11. forefathers 12. reins 13. meddling 14. spheres of influence 15. secede 16. rebellious farmers


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Connecticut, invites your language sightings. His book, "Mark My Words," is available for $9.99 on Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via email to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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