Don’t Trust Everything You Learn in History Class

by

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


We’d all like to believe that what we are taught in school is an objective representation of the truth. Unfortunately, that’s usually not the case. On high school and college campuses across the country, textbooks play a key role in perpetuating left-wing narratives to the next generation. This is particularly alarming because whoever controls the next generation, controls the future.

With the help of Larry Shweikart’s 48 Liberal Lies About American History, I will explore frequent, left-wing portrayals of important events in our history and reveal to you the truth behind the lies.

Let’s begin: In A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Zinn asserts that, “[T]he more blacks entered the war, the more it appeared a war for their liberation. The more whites had to sacrifice, the more resentment there was, particularly among poor whites in the North.” At first, you don’t immediately recognize the problem. With closer analysis, you see that Zinn is calling the Emancipation Proclamation a racist move by Lincoln to increase troop count in the North.

According to the historical narrative of the left, Lincoln is a racist. Omitting the fact that Lincoln had extensively written that slavery was not a military or political issue, but one of morality and justice. Lincoln was ready to deliver the Proclamation in the summer of 1862. Also, evidence shows that Lincoln was not in the business of increasing troop strength. In fact, Lincoln knew that many would desert the Union army as a result of the Proclamation, being that racism existed in the North (just not at the level it did in the South).

Lincoln was right. The 86th Illinois regiment disbanded soon after the Emancipation Proclamation, with only eight returning to service. Following the Illinois regiment, many began to do the same.

No, Lincoln is not a racist. The Emancipation Proclamation was delivered with the intent to free the slaves residing in rebelling states. A People’s History of the United States persists yet another narrative: the Founding Fathers were elites that crafted the Constitution with only the protection of their wealth on their minds.

“The Constitution, then, illustrates the complexity of the American system: that it serves the interests of the wealthy elite…” Zinn manages to explain the founding away with the mere idea of economic determinism. The leftist theory is that the Founders created a government that protected their wealth and economic interests, however, without losing the support among middle-class whites.

But is this reality? All signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution took risks. In fact most, if not all, of the signers lost either money, property, or family as a result of the Revolutionary War.

To the founders, America was more than a “for-profit” scheme. It was an idea, an idea that would come to empower people for generations and change the world. To label the Founding as a result of economic determinism is ignorant and narrow-minded. Sadly, the bias doesn’t stop at the textbook. Sometimes teachers and professors play an important role beaming left-wing narratives in the minds of young adults.

Rose Laoutaris, a high school student in New Jersey, expressed her experience of bias in the classroom on Twitter. The following is the prompt that was given in Ms. Laoutaris’s classroom in which she claims instructor bias: Does FDR’s New Deal program effectively solve the problems of the Great Depression?

Many conservatives would answer ‘poorly,’ and they would have a good reason for doing so. Artificially raising wages also raises the cost of labor. When labor gets increasingly expensive for a business, they hire fewer workers and unemployment goes up. Roosevelt confused the economy of wartime with peacetime. Roosevelt made the assumption that the government could run the economy. FDR was wrong. In the end, his policies only prolonged the depression.

Ms. Laoutaris answered similarly, taking the side that the New Deal did little to improve the economy. Putting in hours of research, she was hoping to articulate the cons of the New Deal to her teacher. The teacher unimpressed, returned the essay with a poor score, citing numerous occasions where Ms. Laoutaris used “false information.”

This is not uncommon. Textbook bias and instructor bias go hand in hand. What is the solution?

Students.

We have the sum of all knowledge in our hands; the internet. Use it. Educate yourself. We live in a time where we can’t believe everything our teachers or professors tell us. Learn to spot apparent bias. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”


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About Clay Robinson

Hilmar High School

Clay Robinson is a student at Hilmar High School and enjoys politics a bit too much. He spends his time reading, writing and tweeting. Clay hopes to pursue an Economics degree in the future.

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