One of the greatest deficiencies in the people making up the United States of America is their ignorance of history and their open and blatant disdain for knowing anything about history. We have permitted the lie; “history is boring, it’s just about dates and places and events that have no relevance to today” to take root and grow. Those who do not know history are not only doomed to repeat it they completely fail as human beings and as citizens. Ignorance does not create light or understanding nor increase wisdom. Ignorance permits the increase of darkness to spread and misinformation to become the foundation of a life, a nation. And both the individual and the nation are doomed beyond repeating history in that event.
America is the most “history ignorant” of the industrialized nations on earth. We have teachers who when asked who the President of the United States was during WWII reply, “Abe Lincoln?”
Every American should be ashamed and saddened, sickened really, that people in Israel, every country of Europe, all of Scandinavia, Japan, and throughout Asia know more about America, what is happening in America, and American history than does the average American!
If we know any history at all it is errant and skewed and riddled with myths. One of the great travesties of the 20th Century and into the present is not only the disdain for history, but if it is embraced, studied, or taught at all it is from a very manipulated perspective pushing a destructive agenda.
I decided to begin this new feature on “A Crooked Path” for a number of reasons:
1.) I love history and always have and I study some history each day. And I live with the hope history can be presented so that others can either expand their interest in and love of history, increase their understanding, or that someone, even one person will begin to have a different perspective on history and begin to study and embrace history rather that never thinking about it or continuing their lives in darkness and ignorance with regard to history and how important it is.
2.) History is not dry and relegated to certain dates, places, and events. We will see if we permit ourselves to, that EVERYTHING is history! From the smallest gesture and thought to the grandest, and every act, every person, in every place, at every time contributes either by passivity and permitting certain events to then grow and happen, or by action to further an event or slow it and repel it from taking hold. Every person and event is but a thread in the continuous living fabric of history. We will discover many examples here, such as what the so-thought “ancient” and “irrelevant” people and cultures directly impacts every life in today’s world. There is no separation or gaps. The timeline and events are all connected and ongoing. There are no timeouts in creating history, and we all have a direct part in making up the history of this world. History is everyone at all times adding to the living fabric. It is one continuous piece, and what happens in Asia, or happened in the Middle East in Biblical times, or what happened in Russia 100 years ago, or what the Roman Empire did impacts each and every life TODAY!
3.) Most of what is out there regarding history is garbage and inaccurate. This has been done with purpose. This has been done to further an agenda and fill the people with lies and myths to eventually accomplish a goal, which we will be discussing throughout our walk through History 101.
What will readers discover here as this place takes shape and grows?
The real history of the Bible. How Scripture has shaped and defined all of Western civilization and everything everyone thinks and does and believes is directly related to that Sacred Book. The real history of our Founding Fathers. The true history of Islam. Real American History. The truth and history of many things such as science, Darwinism, feminism, our Constitution and whatever I determine is of interest or could be of value to those coming to “ACP” and spending some of their precious time.
I hope people like this new feature and it grows into what I envision it being. I hope readers of History 101 will tell others of they like what they read here, and that if they are not reading other sections of “ACP” they will begin to do so.
As always, in everything, I place my trust completely in the Lord and the Holy Spirit to direct and guide me in what I do here to further the truth and help others realize our sole purpose as people created by God is to worship the One True Living God, and The Son, Yeshua, Who is the only path, the Only One that can lead anyone to salvation.
Through the study of history we can openly reveal and see, making everything very clear, that from the beginning it has been a lot simpler than we make it, for it is all about righteousness versus evil. Doing the right thing or doing nothing, or doing the wrong thing. We all either serve righteousness = right and thus the Lord, or we serve evil and the wrong thing, or nothing, and therefore the devil – and every thought, every action or inaction, every deed of every person who ever lived or is alive is a thread making up the fabric of history.
by Brion McClanahan, Ph.D.
On a cold, damp, blustery, gray day in March 1775, prominent Virginians gathered at Saint John’s Church in Richmond to consider action against the British Crown and Parliament. Foremost among this group stood resolute Patrick Henry, a man Thomas Jefferson called the “leader in the measure of revolution in Virginia.” The mood was solemn and the atmosphere thick. Despite the bitter weather, windows were opened to alleviate the stifling air of the packed building. A faint hope of peace still prevailed in the Old Dominion, and many members of the Second Virginia Convention appeared ready to accept any conciliatory proposal from the British. Not Henry. After offering a series of resolutions that moved Virginia closer to war with Britain, Henry delivered a speech on the “illusions of hope” that became a battle cry for a new republic. He said, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
It used to be that students not only knew this line, they knew the speech and its context; they knew that Henry was a devout Christian, that the Second Virginia Convention met in the oldest established church in Richmond, and that Henry’s belief in liberty stemmed from the assumed birth right of a free-born Englishman. Today, students are far less likely to know any of these things – and they won’t learn them from most high school and college textbooks. Rather than learning that the convention took place in a church, and that Henry made frequent references to God, they will be taught to focus on the contradictions between Henry’s claim of liberty and his status as a slaveholder. You can even find college textbooks that ignore the speech altogether (1). If you look at these textbooks, you might well wonder what has happened to the teaching of American history, especially about the Founding Fathers.
Tom Brokaw labeled the World War II generation the “Greatest Generation,” but he was wrong. That honor belongs to the Founders, the men who pledged their lives, fortunes, ans sacred honor for the cause of liberty and independence. This is the generation that produced Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Henry, and a host of other patriots; this is the generation that established the United States, framed two successful governing documents and a host of state constitutions, and provided the foundations of American civil liberty; this is the generation that gave us the greatest political thinkers and constitutional scholars in American history, from Jefferson and Madison to John Taylor and St. George Tucker. The founding generation has no equal, and it deserves to be rescued from politically correct textbooks, teachers, and professors, who want to dismiss the Founders as a cadre of dead, white, sexist, slave-holding males.
In 1971, Richard Nixon proclaimed that the national celebration of George Washington’s birthday would be re-named Presidents Day. The presidential directive had no legal effect, and Congress has never officially changed the name, but Americans no longer have a federal or state holiday marking the birth of our first president. In effect, Nixon attached his corrupt, insecure, and power-driven presidency to that of Washington’s, and Washington’s stature has been reduced by lumping him in with every other man to have held the office – from William Henry Harrison to Millard Fillmore, from Chester Alan Arthur to Warren Harding, from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton. Today, the only American to have a federal holiday named in his honor is Martin Luther King Jr. Washington is relegated to being one president among many, rather than the “Father of our Country.”
Current “national history standards” consider Washington important – but only reluctantly. The original “standards” established in 1995 eliminated Washington and many other Founding Fathers from public school curricula and replaced them with more politically correct individuals and issues. Even with reluctant backtracking of the national history standards guidelines, American history textbooks are light on the men who established the United States and heavy on issues concerning feminism, civil rights, immigration, and American Indians. High school students spend weeks studying how various social and minority groups “felt” about the Revolution, and how the Declaration of Independence contradicted “the realities of chattel slavery.” yet detailed biographies of Washington and the other Founding Fathers, the “gallant gentlemen” in Douglas Southhall Freeman’s phrase, have been removed. Students, instead, know about the limited participation of blacks and women in the Revolution, but little about Washington’s deep faith, his commitment to the cause of independence, or his impeccable character.
For example, David Goldfield’s The American Journey, published in 2006, dedicates more space to discussing Washington’s fashion preferences – two pages – than to his contributions to the Revolutionary War – one paragraph (2). In contrast, Thomas Bailey’s 1966 edition of The American Pagent discusses Washington on thirty-seven pages and describes him as a “giant among men,” who was “gifted with outstanding powers of leadership and immense strength of character” (3). In forty years, Washington has moved from a pillar of masculine strength, courage, and integrity to an effete dandy.
Why does this matter? The Left likes to argue that the students are better served by a “complex” history that incorporates race, class, and what they call “gender studies” into the curriculum. The net result of this approach is that students learn little of the sagacity of the Founders and their heroic deeds and instead are indoctrinated into a politically correct worldview, where the Founding Fathers and the nation they created are seen as nothing special. Instead, America is almost irredeemably scarred by oppression: racial, sexual , financial, you name it. “America is a downright mean country,” as Michelle Obama recently proclaimed (4). This message is buttressed by historians like Howard Zinn, whose popular leftist textbook A People’s History of the United States describes the Founding Fathers as geniuses only because they figured out a way to plunder “land, profits, and political power” and in the process “hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership” (5). James Loewen echoes this sentiment in Lies My Teacher Told Me. Washington is not a hero, but a “heavily pockmarked” slaveholder. And Thomas Jefferson fares worse. Loewen claims that “Jefferson’s slaveholding affected almost everything he did, from his opposition to internal improvements to his foreign policy” (6). The Revolutionary generation, in short, was mean, racist, and downright ugly.
De-emphasizing, or disparaging, men like Washington, Jefferson, and Henry serves a purpose. It is meant to sever our attachment to, and our respect for, the Founders and their principles and to replace them with the Left’s own ideal of a “living” Constitution that better reflects our increasingly diverse nation and the interests of those (such as ethnic minorities, women, and others) who have had to struggle for their due rights.
The irony is that the Founders had a better understanding of the problems we face today than do our own members of congress. If you want real and relevant insights into the issues, for example, of banking, war powers, executive authority, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, states’ rights, gun control, judicial activism, trade, and taxes, you’d be better served reading the Founders than you wold watching congressional debates on C-SPAN or reading the New York Times. What will unfold here intends to restore a bit of our patrimony, to reconnect us with the greatest political thinkers in our history. The Founding Fathers didn’t always agree, but it is from their debates, and, as we;ll see, their underlying conservative principles that we’ll be able to keep the freedom that Americans have cherished for generations.
(1) See, for instance, David Goldfield, et. al. The American Journey TLC 4th Edition Combined (New York: Prentice Hall, 2006)
(2) Ibid., 54, 55, 152.
(3) Thomas A Bailey, The American Pagent: A History of the Republic, Third Edition (Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1966), 100, 104.
(4) Laura Collins, “The Other Obama,” The New Yorker, March 20, 2008; article available online at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/03/10/080310fa_fact_collins?currentPage=all
(5) Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present (P.S.) (New York: Harper Perennial Modern CLassics, 2005), 59
(6) James Loewen Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (New York: Touchstone, 2007), 76, 146-47.
* from The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Founding Fathers, Brion McClanahan, Ph.D., (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2009)