Teaching history without connecting your students to it is like trying to listen to music without eardrums. You can see what’s going on, but you won’t understand it.
Should kids know who U.S. Grant was? Yes.
But they should also know that the Civil War wasn’t about Lee and Grant pushing chess pieces across a board. They need to know about The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and their assault on Fort Wagner; how black men in blue uniforms defined the word Glory for generations to come. Kids also need to know about the University Grays, the entire student body of Ole Miss (all 135 young men) and how they all died to a man on Cemetery Ridge one summer day in Pennsylvania.
History is ALIVE and should told with passion and vigor, not pigeon holed into a straight jacket of names and dates and disconnected places. The commoner was there in history and is there now and will be there as long as people endure, and to say because the names of the people who live and die are too numerous to list in a history text that they are somehow less relevant than a prince or potentate is the height of vanity and idolatry.