History

Tanya - posted on 08/30/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

1,073

23

54

I am an American as most of you know. I feel that the history of our country present in our text books is sugar coated. I feel like it has been changed to suit political agendas.

One example is the very beginnings of our nation. They make the Native Americans out to be savages who where trying to kill all the white people for no reason. Then they cover the killing other them very briefly. They still do address the issues facing Native Americans today. Reservation have some of the highest rates of alcoholism, domestic violence, and diabetes in the country.
"The report released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found 11.7 percent of deaths among Native Americans and Alaska Natives between 2001 and 2005 were alcohol-related, compared with 3.3 percent for the U.S. as a whole."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26439767/

"About 16.5 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives ages 20 years and older who are served by the Indian Health Service have diagnosed diabetes."

Then we have to deal with the christian nation myth. Most people honestly believe that all of the founding fathers were christians.

"These beliefs were forcefully articulated by Thomas Paine in Age of Reason, a book that so outraged his contemporaries that he died rejected and despised by the nation that had once revered him as "the father of the American Revolution." To this day, many mistakenly consider him an atheist, even though he was an out spoken defender of the Deistic view of God. Other important founding fathers who espoused Deism were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, James Madison, and James Monroe. "
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/f...

"When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) This provision was radical in its day-- giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention religion, except in exclusionary terms. The words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not once.

The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "in no sense founded on the Christian religion" (see below). This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy muslims-- they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams."
http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfa...

I have seen text books that call the Civil war " The war of Northern Aggression"
They go as far as to say that some slaves fought for the south because they were happy with their lives and wanted to stay with their masters. They do not mention the horrible punishment that befell slaves who would have tried to escape and fight for the north.

"In America, Africans were sold and taken to new homes, where they would be forced to work, usually for more than twelve hours a day. Most slaves worked in the fields, picking tobacco or cotton. Slaves who did not work or tried to run away were beaten and sometimes even killed. Slaves were given simple shacks and clothes and food to eat, but this did not make up for what was taken away from them."
http://www.misterteacher.com/american%20...

They move very quickly through the Women's Liberation Movement and the Civil rights movement.

So I have two question:

1: Does the history that Americans learn about our country differ from what the rest of the world learns?

2: Do you feel your country presents a fair view of its history in your text books? DO you feel that your country has some parts that are swept under the rug?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

I was pretty much going to say what Jenny said. Good thing I read through the responses before responding!

I would LOVE it if history books were trashed and history were taught straight from historical documents, diaries, autobiographies, literature from the time period (fiction and non), etc.

Rosie - posted on 08/30/2010

8,657

30

315

i'm from the US and i think most of what you have said has been presented to me in my history classes. i know that native americans aren't savages that was taught to me. i also know that black people were not happy being slaves. where the heck are you from that they teach you these things?

i guess i was never really taught that we were built upon christianity, i just always assumed from all the religious mumbo jumbo i have seen-like on money, and pledge of allegiance and such- that we were. until i started going out and exploring more i now know better.

i do agree that we move through our history WAY too fast, and we need to put more emphasis on black history and womens lib. definitely.

Johnny - posted on 08/30/2010

8,686

26

318

Sara, I completely agree with you about the importance of reading original documents, especially from a variety of sources. I just fear that people generally decide what they think happened and then try to make history fit into their mold. It would be so easy to just pick original documents that support an individual's particular bias. Not that I don't think that professors, teachers, and text book writers hold their own biases. I suppose that recently there have been quite a few unfortunate examples of people with an agenda using original documents to prove their point while ignoring those that contradict them. If there is no easily accessible review of the broad historical data, as might exist in a textbook or large treatise, it would be more difficult to refute that kind of dishonesty. Perhaps in the future, when more books and documents are accessible electronically, people will be able to access a multitude of original documents which pertain to a topic being discussed in a textbook, thus giving it context and specificity.

[deleted account]

Carol, maybe I should have said diaries from all viewpoints of that particular point in history. Of course there will always be bias. My dad is actually a historian that just retired from managing a Civil War battlefield and museum. He constantly read diaries from both the North and South, has spent many hours in cemeteries trying to identify unmarked graves with old documents, read accounts from slaves that had the ability to write, read verbatim interviews with slaves and ex-slaves, gone through court documents, and the list goes on. Just listening to the things he's found and discovered on his own has given me a much more in-depth understanding of the time period than any text book. But you bring up a good point that there should be some sort of guideline for the documents used to teach to make sure all sides of history are being fairly and accurately portrayed. Can't be totally up to the individual teacher or we would see even more bias and half-truths in history if that particular teacher has an agenda.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

27 Comments

View replies by

Ashley - posted on 09/02/2010

863

2

155

Well im from Canada so what i remember of history is not a lot mostly i learn't about U.S history lol don't ask my why but thats what we learn with a bit of Canadian history thrown in for kicks. I do believe that the it can be one sided but i do remember hearing a lot of what happened to the natives to be honest there was a lot more about that then what some of you were learning. Apparently the opposite. It would be interesting to see what we would see putting all are old text books together.

Jaime - posted on 09/02/2010

4,427

24

196

I live in Canada, and all through high school I loathed history. I found it extremely boring and monotonous. It was the same every day: sit down, open text book, read a paragraph, discuss paragraph, move on to next paragraph and then have a test about it at the end of the month. BORING! When I got to university and had to take Canadian history as one of my electives I was extremely skeptical and very reluctant. To my surprise, it was NOTHING like high school history. Yes, we had a text book, but my professor was amazing. He used the text book as a reference point, but he taught and talked about history and he related the past to the present in such a way that made it possible for us to see the true value of learning history and why it is so damn important to the future of the world.

Manon Alexe - posted on 09/01/2010

94

18

7

I currently live in South Africa but am actually from The Netherlands. As far as I remember the history we where taught was rather accurate and not to biased. My history teacher was a really good one and a specialist Historian. Now in South Africa, that's a whole nother ball game on its own. Technically these days the kids are being taught "history" that happend after 1994. Go figure. They've kinda left out the whole Appartheid era. Although in a way they will always be reminded that infact the country has been around for way longer than 1994, it is for sure not accuratly being taught in school. I shudder to think I have to put my daughter through the schooling system here and am already looking into private schools where I know she will be getting proper education and with that a more accurate recall of the history of this country and any other countries.

Amy - posted on 09/01/2010

1,761

18

248

1) I think in any history book in any country it "sugar coats" things to make each place seem better. Over the years (from what I've heard) it has gotten better.

2) I think in most if not all countries there are things that are "swept under the rug" or twisted to make the country seem better.

Also, the teachers I've had have also pointed out a few things in books where things might differ from other places.

Sherri - posted on 08/31/2010

9,593

15

387

Kati I have to agree with you I learned it correctly and I am from the East Coast. I will say some of it I think is censored to a point to teach at an age appropriate level for our kids. I think by the time I was in HS it was pretty brutally honest. History was my favorite subject in HS.

Yvonne - posted on 08/31/2010

86

16

6

I’m in Oz, like in the US the histroy taught is biased. You have to make your own objective research. Much of the positive history about Australia is being ignored and only a darker side seems to be focused apon. I see it as a politcal move to bring about political change. Not necessarily for the good of the nation.

LaCi - posted on 08/31/2010

3,361

3

171

Americans learn differently depending on what part of the country they're in. Just chec out the differences between the south and north when it comes to the civil war lol. Even from school to school here, my school was fairly blunt and accurate. They didn't sugar coat much. Maybe that's why I am the way I am.... my boyfriends schools were about 15 minutes away from mine and I still can't believe the happy, unrealistic crap they told those kids in grade school.

Rosie - posted on 08/30/2010

8,657

30

315

our football coach was our science teacher. so was our political science teacher, he was an assistant coach who ended up being the superintendant a year or so after i graduated.

Starr - posted on 08/30/2010

372

37

10

Oh wow no, we didnt have coaches teaching our classes. I guess that would be a bit odd. I could see how things would get twisted if even taught.

[deleted account]

I'm obviously in the south too...dad working at Civil War battlefield...unless it were one of the four (give or take) that was in the north...which it's not. For the most part I was taught history by coaches. Did any of your schools do that? Hire a coach and stick him in a history classroom? Nothing against coaches, but history was definitely not their focus. The majority of my historical knowledge comes from my dad or my own reading.

Starr - posted on 08/30/2010

372

37

10

I agree with Kati, we learned all these things in History Class as well. I also would like to add that we have certain classes that dwell on those periods. Like our Civil War class. I live near a native american reservation and also we have a lot of us(native americans) here with musems and pow-wows wich show that history. They never directly said our country was founded by Christians but thats because now days its not appropriate to bring religion in schools. But you can do enough of that reading on your own. BTW, Im from the south so I dont know if that makes a difference.

Sarah - posted on 08/30/2010

555

25

44

@ Kati- what state did you grow up in? I think that may have be part of why we were educated so differently.

To be fair I think very little is actually "taught" in schools.

Johnny - posted on 08/30/2010

8,686

26

318

"I would LOVE it if history books were trashed and history were taught straight from historical documents, diaries, autobiographies, literature from the time period (fiction and non), etc."


This always does sound desirable, and for people capable of critical thought and the ability to reason, it would be great. But as we know, historical documents, diaries, etc also contain bias from that point in history. They lack the hindsight necessary for careful analysis. And it is all too easy to misinterpret historical texts when you are lacking all the context which they are placed in. Watch Glenn Beck to see a perfect example of the use of historical documents run amok.

Rosie - posted on 08/30/2010

8,657

30

315

although i will say this, i heard a very wise quote recently: " you have to wonder about history, when you hear two eyewitness accounts of the same event"

Jenny - posted on 08/30/2010

4,426

16

126

History is written by the winners. There is ALWAYS another side to the story.

Tanya - posted on 08/30/2010

1,073

23

54

Good question. I now I am going to be checking back all night til someone answers. We did have a thread about how they are trying to water it down even more now. Some text books are going to start leaving out Thomas Jefferson because of his religious views. Scary.

They are also going to try to further water down slavery.

Sarah - posted on 08/30/2010

555

25

44

I'm in the US too and I completely agree with you. I've always said that our history books are full of lies and half-truths. I do wonder what they say about the revolutionary war in britain (do they even call it that?).

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms