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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Q:

You won a Rhodes Scholarship and went to Oxford and you continued there your study of history, I assume.

Oakes:

No, I didn't as a matter of fact. I was feeling more and more that I would want to go into journalism as a career, although I had thought also in addition to the one I had mentioned earlier, I had also thought, just thought, of such things as teaching and diplomacy but I always came back to journalism and I liked very much doing it on the scale that I did at Princeton itself. This gave me a really good taste of it, because it was quite a serious job getting out a paper daily. So, I think I was pretty well set on entering the journalistic field and when I went to Oxford I took the broadest course in current studies that it was possible to take, which is what they call PPE or Politics, Philosophy and Economics. I felt the history would be specialized, and particularly since I had just majored in history at Princeton, and wanted to learn something about some other fields. Although I had some political science and some economics and some philosophy at Princeton, I thought I'd get more of these things by taking this PPE course, which was sort of the modern, current--one can't call it current affairs, of course--but current studies course, humanistic course in relatively modern fields at Oxford.

The economics was highly theoretical, based on people like Marshall and Pigou, and the political science was partially history and partially political science but included such people as Locke and J. S. Mill, which of course, was a very useful thing. And the philosophical thing went back to Descartes and from him on. So this was very useful in broadening the background; it gave me a lot of stuff that I did not have at Princeton.



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