Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Liberals Rewrite History for Schoolchildren

Many liberals don't like important events in American history. They don't like the fact that most influential historical figures were men, and they don't like the central role played by Christianity. Some liberals have responded by ignoring the indisputable facts, instead espousing a history rewritten to conform to liberal principles. It is bad enough to twist history to fit an ideological narrative. But it is worse to impose that narrative on others. This is exactly what supporters of a book by Howard Zinn are doing, by trying to assign the book called A People's History of the United States as required reading in public schools. This 729-page book purports to provide a history of America from the perspective of common people. But there is a reason historical texts traditionally focused on influential people: they are worth studying because they had the greatest impact. American children should be learning about how the Founding Fathers stood up for vital freedoms, not embarking on an in-depth study of how some colonists struggled to make ends meet while the Constitution was being written.

Howard Zinn's book also had factual problems. Zinn discussed the story of a woman named Polly Baker who got into trouble for having a child out of wedlock. Zinn's story was supposed to display traditional morality in a negative light. There is a big problem with the Polly Baker story: it never actually occurred, and was proven to be a hoax.

Leading historians have issued scathing criticisms of the shoddy scholarship in this book. For example, Harvard history professor Oscar Handlin spoke of "the deranged quality of this fairy tale, in which the incidents are made to fit the legend, no matter how intractable the evidence." But some liberals tried to paint Zinn's opponents as uninformed. For example, when Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said that Zinn's book was not fit to teach history in schools, historical revisionists tried to portray him as anti-intellectual.

However, Governor Daniels was right: our children should not be forced to read made-up history. The anti-intellectual ones are those who rewrite history to fit their ideology.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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