There is perhaps no other person or group of people so
grossly misrepresented in American History as the Pilgrims (unless
it’s Christopher Columbus). Modern historians describe for us their greed and
lust, their domination, and their zealous forcing of religion on everyone
around them. We are made to feel guilty for descending from them, and reaping
the rewards of the nation for which they laid the foundations. Modern
historians would have us believe that the Indians were weak, helpless natives
overrun by tyrannical, greedy Englishmen bent on conquering the vast American
wilderness. Ah, but then there’s the truth.
So, do you know the truth? Do your children know the truth?
How did you learn what you know? How do your children learn what they know? How
can you learn the truth?
20th and 21st century historians have
invested a great deal of time in what is called “revisionist history;” that is,
changing the story of great people and civilizations to fit what they think
happened and why they believe it did or did not happen, or telling what they
think should have happened. There is a definite bias, and the divide is right
down the middle between Christians and non-Christians.
In a recent article
entitled “Academic Standards Promoting Islam Invaded America’s Classrooms”, Dr. Susan
regard to world history, [Donna Hearne, former Reagan official in the U.S.
Department of Education] says as far back as the 1930s there was a
movement to collect and write curricula that would be hostile to America. The FrankfurtSchool
– which was the source of Critical Theory – was developed with the goal of
advancing Marxist philosophy in Germany.
Following the Nazi takeover, the FrankfurtSchool eventually moved to New York and ColumbiaUniversity.
There is a strong desire on both sides of the history debate
that wants to paint historical events in the light of our personal biases. The
majority of revisionists would love for all events to be disconnected from each
other, illustrating the greed and destruction of organized religion, focusing on the underdog. I have also seen Christian writers attempt to hail the heroes of history to be without blemish, ever fighting for
justice, full of character, doing no wrong.
The thing is, facts are facts and both sides kinda get their
way. But we should all be very careful about painting our historic heroes in our
beautiful, biased light. It’s okay to discover that a great national hero had
faults. It’s okay to discover that a freedom fighter didn’t even worship God.
It’s okay to have a country founded on Judeao-Christian principles. History is
so fascinating that we have no need to alter the story to fit our own desires.
For example, Christians owned slaves. Africans sold their
own people into slavery. Some Christians fought slavery, while other Christians
fought to protect slave ownership. Sometimes history is ugly and unpleasant,
but the overall story is exciting and informative and very enlightening.
Modern history books, textbooks, and websites are overloaded
with “opinions” on history, often leaving out facts. But facts don’t lie. Oh,
they can be ignored. They can even be disagreed with. But they’re still there.
(I realize that we live in an age where you can claim to be a woman even if you’re
a man, but excuse my boldness: the facts are there to be seen, hidden underneath
your clothes and further verifiable on a sonogram or x-ray.)
In a report entitled The Stealth Curriculum by Sandra
Stotsky, an investigation into many history curricula shows that
There is a
definite revision of history, especially American, taught to our public school
The use of “supplemental resources” (websites,
professional workshops, etc.) excludes history curriculum from scrutiny and
oversight because no two school districts or history teachers are presenting
material in the same way.
Large numbers of history teachers are actually not
trained to teach history, leaving them to accept any instructional materials
for their classroom use without verifying the facts.
Below are some excerpts from this report:
But most of its
specimens share these features: under the guise of heightening teachers’ and
students’ awareness of previously marginalized groups, they manipulate teachers
(and, thus, their pupils) to view the history of freedom as the history of
oppression and to be more sympathetic to cultures that don’t value individual
rights than to those that do.
People can also teach
themselves history, pick it up from their reading, the History Channel, even
movies. The key is to insist that, however they learn it, tomorrow’s teachers
must know it—and demonstrate this—before confronting children in the classroom.
The source of the
problem with many of the supplemental resources used for history or social
studies is the ideological mission of the organizations that create them. Their
ostensible goal is to combat intolerance, expand students’ knowledge of other
cultures, give them other “points of view” on commonly studied historical
phenomena, and/or promote “critical thinking.” But their real goal, to judge by
an analysis of their materials and the effects they have on teachers, is to
influence how children come to understand and think about current social and
political issues by bending historical content to those ends.
The purpose of the
1994 [Facing History and Ourselves] resource book, bearing the same title as
the 1982 manual but with a new conceptual framework, is to make sure that
students see the task of confronting white racism in America as the chief
reason for studying the Holocaust.6 It makes explicit and frequent comparisons
not only between twentieth-century America and twentieth-century Germany but
also between nineteenth century America and nineteenth-century Germany. In
essence, it uses the Holocaust to portray America’s
blacks as Europe’s Jews, thereby reducing
genocide to an act of bigotry and equating white Americans to Nazis.
We do know, though,
that teachers have been increasingly encouraged by their professional
organizations to use videos of television programs or films in their classes to
compensate for the inability of many high school students to read their history
textbooks or primary documents with adequate comprehension.
The daily lives and
fates of the many Native American tribes have been perhaps the greatest
beneficiary of this sociocultural approach, which now occupies much
instructional time. With it, however, comes a strongly negative view of the
Europeans who explored and colonized the Americas. Supplemental resources
now guide teachers to downplay or ignore altogether what students should be
learning about the origins and development of our civic culture.
Appendix C contains
the most manipulative set of teacher-created lessons I saw. It has not one
academic objective. Instead of “The Wampanoag,” the lessons could have been
titled “How to Cultivate Hatred of the Pilgrims.” The teacher clearly intends
to make sure her students end up with no “misconceptions” about the Pilgrims,
even grading them for parroting the politically correct response. What is
especially chilling about this lesson was that not one teacher in the group saw
anything remarkable about it. None raised a question about the flagrantly
loaded nature of the quiz questions, at least while I was present.
You can see how easy it has become for children to be taught
opinions instead of facts. Without their own basic knowledge of historic fact,
they are easily manipulated into repeating the opinions of others. (I highly
encourage you to read the full report. It’s free to download here.)
The result: a generation of people who find history dry and
boring, and who are ashamed to be Americans; they view capitalism as evil; they
view American exceptionalism as a crime; they see our founders not as heroes and
wise men, but as tyrants, greedy land-grabbers, Indian killers, and
Thank goodness for primary sources! Primary Sources are the
writings of those who made and witnessed history, such as diaries, books,
letters, and official documents.
In the case of the Pilgrims, the Mayflower Compact is an
official document, but it is explained by the writings of William Bradford, John
Winthrop, and others who signed it and lived it.
The day-to-day lives of these Pilgrims, including why they
sailed to the New World, how they got their
start, their relations with various Indian tribes, their religious beliefs and
practices, and the amazing beginnings of American Democracy are all detailed in
multiple firsthand accounts.
Join me in my next post as I share the actual story of the
Pilgrims as they defy religious tyranny, give up everything to start new lives
in a vast wilderness, and lay the foundations for a radical new form of
government. It is a story of thrills, courage, sadness, betrayal (not the kind
you think), prayer and thankfulness, treaties, and new beginnings. I will share a list of resources for re-learning what you thought you knew, as well as for sharing these amazing stories with your children, no matter where they attend school. Click HERE to read Part Two.