Lies My Teacher Told Me
 Everything Your American History Teacher Got Wrong  J Loewen

Editor Walter Antoniotti's Note: "Lies" refers to omissions author Loewen feels negatively affect our nation.
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Chapter 1 HANDICAPPED BY HISTORY concerns historical horrificaion, a degenerative process (much like calcification) that makes people over to be heroes. Through this process, our educational media turns flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflict, pain, credibility, or human interest. My concern here, however, is not who gets chosen , but rather what happens to the heroes when they are introduced into our and our classrooms. Two twentieth century Americans provide case studies of horrification: Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller. Wilson was unarguably an important president, and he receives extensive textbook coverage. Keller, on the other hand, was a "little person" ... Most (text) books don't even mention her.
Only chapter one was summarized with direct quotes except as where presented in red.
 
"Helen Keller, who struggled so valiantly to learn to speak, has been made mute by history. The result is we really don't know much about her.

The truth is that Helen Keller was a radical socialist. ...even before she graduated from Radcliffe. After the Russian Revolution, she sang the praises of the new nation. Gradually she moved to the left of the Socialist Party and became a  Wobbly... , the syndicalism (revolutionary) union persecuted by Woodrow Wilson. Keller's commitment to socialism stemmed from her experience as a disabled person and from her sympathy for others with handicaps.

At the time Keller became a socialist, she was one of the most famous women on the planet. Soon she became the most notorious. Her conversion to socialism caused a new storm of publicity- this time outraged. Newspapers that had extolled her courage and intelligence now emphasized her handicap. Columnists charged that she had no independent sensory input and was in thrall to those who fed her information.


 

Keller, who devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind, ever waivered in her belief our society need radical change. Having herself fought so hard to speak, she helped form the American Civil Liberties Union  to fight for the free speech of others. She sent $100 to the NAACP with a letter of support that appeared in its magazine The Crisis- a radical act for a white person from Alabama in the 1920's


 

Woodrow Wilson led our country reluctantly into WWI ... led the struggle to establish the League of Nations... and associate Wilson with progressive causes like women's suffrage.

Under Wilson, the United States intervened in Latin American more often than any other time in our history.  ...(many) textbooks do not mention Wilson's takeover of Haiti. After US Marines invaded the country in 1915, they forced the Haitian legislature to select our preferred candidate as president. ... occupied Haiti until 1934. ... George Barnette, a U.S. Marine general, complained to his commander in Haiti : "Practically indiscriminate killing of natives has gone on for a long time."  

In 1917 Woodrow Wilson took on a major power when he started sending secret monetary aid to the "White" side of the  Russian civil war. In the Summer of 1918 he authorized the a naval blockade of the Soviet Union  and sent expeditionary forces to... three cities.. to  help overthrow the Russian Revolution.  Not one of the twelve American history textbooks in my original sample even mentioned it (unknown war with Russia). Russian textbooks, on the other hand, give the episode considerable coverage.

At home, Wilson's racial policies disgraced the office he held. His administration submitted an extensive legislation program 

intended to curtail the civil rights of African Americans, but Congress would not pass it. He appointed southern whites
offices to traditionally reserved for blacks. He segregated the Navy...  Wilson personally vetoed a clause on racial equality in the Covenant of Nations.

Wilson was not only anti-black, he was also far and away our most activist president, repeatedly questioning the locality of those he called "hyphenated Americans." "Any man who carries a hyphen about with him," said  Wilson, " carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into of the Republic whenever  he is ready"

Interesting STUFF 1) Lies My Teacher Told Me 57 min video       2) The Untold History of the United States 100 min video

Chapter 2 "1493"

Textbooks wrongly portray 15th century explorers and their sponsors as humanists. Actually, their motivation came from a desire to circumvent the Turks who were blocking trade routes to eastern spices. Authors concede the precedent of Prince Henry the Navigator's initiation of the Age of Discoveries. However, they seem unaware of ancient Phoenician and Egyptian trade routes to foster the social archetype that modern technology is an exclusively a European development. That Prince Henry’s inspiration coming from ancient information (preserved and expanded by Muslims) goes unnoted to foster Eurocentrism.

Second only to the agricultural revolution in its importance to Western development, textbooks ignore advances in military technology and bureaucracy, double entry bookkeeping, and the Gutenberg press... Christianity blessed the domination of some over others to enhance wealth accumulation. Process and not legitimacy was stressed. <

Columbus is glorified to avoid controversy. Only the date, lands visited and ship names can be trusted.  The false assertion that contemporaries of Columbus believed the world was flat induces readers to identify with his vision, resourcefulness and courage.

The Columbian Exchange is also ignored. It describes the effects of the movement people and products between Europe and America. Also exchanged were diseases.  A 1516 smallpox epidemic killed most of the estimated three million native Americans. Syphilis and over 200 Indian drugs moved to Europe. 

At first American gold empowered Spain and Portugal. Then transported American crops and trade-expanded Europe's population and wealth. Power moved northward away from the Mediterranean. Such geopolitical implications fostered "Eurocentrism" which ignored the westward movement of ideas or wealth.

Columbus was a heroic navigator plunderer who fostered  Colonialism. 1492 marked the meeting of three cultures not the discovery by one

More Interesting STUFF 1) The_Great_Small_Pox_Epidemic_of_1617  2) Chapter 1 Brave New World

"The Truth about the First Thanksgiving"

After landing at Provincetown, the Pilgrims selected Plymouth because it was where Indians had cleared the land for planting. Like other settlers, the Pilgrims pitched camp and appropriated planting fields. On the second day, the Pilgrims robbed nearby indian houses and desecrated a grave.

English speaking Indian Squanto taught the settlers to plant crops helping them survive. The result wasa 1621 thanksgiving. Squanto had learned English as a slave while living in England. The First Thanksgiving is treated as a morality play portraying Pilgrims as good hard working settlers. Thus began the archetype of "American Exceptionalism" Thanksgiving also implies only American culture enjoys God's backing. It contributes to the idea of Manifest Destiny. Why is Plymouth celebrated as American's first settlement? One reason is her settlers relocated to achieve religious freedom while Virginia was settled to send profits to England. Second, the many earlier western settlements were Spanish and textbook authors want to stress an English heritage.  Thus, Mexicans, Native Americans, Jews and Catholics are ignored.

Honest, inclusive history and not feel-good history should prevail. Both sides difficult. divisive  issues should be depicted and discuss. Otherwise, studies not properly prepared for the turmoil of a successful Democracy

See 1619 Begins Representative Democracy and Slavery__    

Under Construction 6/15/15