History for a Math Major | University of California – Los Angeles Undergraduate Application Essay

“I used to work for Johnny Adams,But he has abused the States!Taken away all their rights,Oh, he did abuse the States!He was a real nasty guy,That can only mean one thing…He wants to declare war on FranceA Quasi-War don’t make no sense!”

Picture this: a petite Jewish girl rapping those words in front of the class, donning a powdered white wig, sunglasses, and a backwards baseball hat… Silly, right? But in AP US History class, it was my assignment to rap as if I was Thomas Jefferson, trying to win votes for the election of 1800. The unusual class activity was not only immensely entertaining and positively funny, but it really helped to contextualize history, as well as the present, for me. I was able to observe how the politicians in the 19th century made claims about their opponents that were irrelevant to policy debate – much like how personal smear campaigns are used nowadays in politics. Imagine what Jefferson would have said about Adams if he had a social media platform like Twitter!

For me, history is completely relevant to the present because similar patterns repeat over time, and we can learn from the previous outcomes. I have not always had the opportunity to learn about such patterns, as I did not have a proper history…

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