Since their experimental discovery in 1989, the electron-doped cuprate superconductors have presented both a major challenge and a major opportunity. The major challenge has been to determine whether these materials are fundamentally different from or essentially similar to their hole-doped counterparts; a major opportunity because answering this question would strongly constrain the possible explanations for what is the essential physics that leads to high temperature superconductivity in the cuprates, which is still not agreed upon. Here we argue that experimental results over the past 30 years on electron-doped cuprate materials have provided conclusive answers to these fundamental questions, by establishing that both in hole- and electron-doped cuprates, superconductivity originates in pairing of hole carriers in the same band. We discuss a model to describe this physics that is different from the generally accepted ones, and calculate physical observables that agree with experiment, in particular tunneling characteristics. We argue that our model is simpler, more natural and more compelling than other models. Unlike other models, ours was originally proposed before rather than after many key experiments were performed.