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February 13

Insightful experience had at the Historical Association Great Debate

Alex from our Sixth Form shares her experience of the Historical Association's Great Debate.

On Wednesday 15 January, I was fortunate enough to take part in the Historical Association’s Great Debate, at Pimlico Academy in London.

This is an annual inter-school public speaking competition for students aged 16-19 in the UK and Ireland in which students deliver a five minute speech on a set question. This year’s question was particularly controversial, yet interesting, asking whether or not we can judge historical figures by the morals of today. This question would be covered by other participants in many other ways, however, I personally came to the conclusion we could judge historical figures based on today’s moral standards. The figure I focussed on in my speech was Martin Luther King, in light of claims of promiscuity and adultery throughout his time in the spotlight as a civil rights activist, despite his position as a religious preacher. Other participants would cover historical figures such as Churchill, John Smith even more modern figures such as Tony Blair or David Cameron. Participants came to many different conclusions, though most agreed that it is acceptable to judge historical figures by today’s moral standards as it allows for us to recognise their achievements but also their personal weaknesses.

Overall, it was an insightful experience to take part in and I would definitely take part in it again

Written by Alex, Year 12

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