September 23, 2016

Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy debate during the 1960 presidential campaign. (Wikimedia)

Over the past couple of weeks, we asked our twitter followers the question “As a historian, what would be your first question if you were moderating the Presidential debates?” Here are some of the best responses we received.

What would you ask Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump if you were moderating the debate? Share your response in the comments below.

What lessons might we draw from the past?

Historians don’t think that history repeats itself, but they do think that it offers some useful lessons.

What historical precedents exist for your presidency and its policies?

Can we use the past to understand the present?

Are there any useful historical analogies for understanding America in 2016?

What are your views on the Constitution and previous pieces of legislation?

Some historians wanted to test the candidates on the Constitution and legislation.


A few wanted to hear the candidates evaluate past leaders.

Quiz time

Some responded with questions intended to probe the candidates’ historical literacy.


As historians know, inequality and injustice in the United States have deep roots in the past.

What are you reading?

A few readers wanted to know about the candidates’ reading habits.

Finally, the big question…