Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Do U.S. History Courses Teach?

The state of Texas requires its public colleges to teach two semesters of American history. A group of scholars recently investigated what these courses are actually teaching. At two universities, they found that the courses and the textbooks used are heavily weighted toward subjects of Class, Race and Gender, and those subjects are squeezing out other historical facts that should be included. The result is that students get a "less-than-comprehensive picture of U.S. history" and are not taught about "military, diplomatic, religious, [or] intellectual history". The researchers also found that the teachers failed to assign many key documents from American history. Only one professor assigned Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, while none assigned the Mayflower Compact or Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

Then the researchers looked at the faculty who were teaching these courses, and found that 90% of professors who received Ph.D.s in the '90s or later had Race, Class and Gender as their major research interests. Although this study involved only two universities, the problems uncovered are certainly not unique; the bias in teaching American history is just as prevalent, or indeed worse, on other college campuses. Some students have been led to believe the wrong things about America, and others just simply never studied American history at all.

The authors of this report suggest that graduate programs in U.S history should present a balanced picture of American history and it should be depoliticized. I'm sorry to tell you that most observers believe we may wait a long time for the pendulum to swing back to the teaching of American history as it really happened. The faculties are loaded with leftwing professors, and they also control the hiring committees to select new professors.

Listen to the radio commentary here:



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