Wednesday, September 21, 2011

President Lincoln Who?

History involves selection.  Ask your wife (or husband) her day, and you are hoping that selection is part of the oral history recounted to you.  What’s more, you are hoping that the selection is smart; that is, that you are getting the highlights, the important parts, of her day. 

American history textbooks have to be selective (and mercifully so).  The problem is, modern editions appear not to be smart in their selection. 

In a recent email Micah Clark, director of Indiana American Family Association, shared the content of a 3rd grade American history textbook, Our American Heritage, published by McGraw Hill. 

There is but one sentence devoted to the Bill of Rights. It reads, "These rights [of citizens] are listed in the part of the U.S. Constitution called the Bill of Rights."
  • Two pages cover the Declaration of Independence
  • Two pages describe the Constitution, all of which are devoted to the three branches of government and separation of powers
  • No pages are devoted to James Madison and the authors of the Constitution; there is no mention of federalism
  • Six pages are spent describing the background of Paul Revere
  • Ten pages are devoted to the history of democracy in ancient Greece.
  • George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are mentioned only in passing, almost as if they are immaterial scenery on the road to diversity and social Utopia.

In the section entitled "America's Freedom Fighters":

  • Eight pages are spent covering the life of Frederick Douglass
  • Five pages on Susan B. Anthony
  • Six pages on Mary McLeod Bethune, (a black educator an adviser to FDR)
  • Zero pages are devoted to the life of Abraham Lincoln 

In fact, the entire Civil War is described only as a backdrop to the lives of Frederick Douglas and Mary McLeod Bethune.

In the section entitled "The Fight for Freedom Continues":

  • Seven pages are spent on praise for FDR
  • Six pages on Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Six pages are devoted to Thurgood Marshall
  • Six pages are spent on LBJ's life and the wondrous effects of "Great Society"
  • Six pages are spent on Cesar Chavez and the lionization of the labor movement

There is no list of American Presidents in the children’s textbook.

What?!  No mention of Al Gore?!

My own American history education was obviously deficient.  I've never heard of Mary McLeod Bethune. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Dear Kent,

The Laws of God required Israel not to forget to teach their children for the next generation of His holy ways for personal life and the nation. According to Moses: 1. Deuteronomy 6:7
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
Ancient Egypt neglected this important principle of teaching the sources and blessing of its history with the favors of Joseph’s rulership. And as a result suffered the TEN PLAGUES from God Himself on their country during the EXODUS of the Jews (Exodus 1:8). History, people say, repeats itself. America dare not continue the “dumming down” of its rich Jewish-Christian History with her devout political and religious patriots. Or America, like ancient Egypt and all other nations that forget God, will surely suffer. –Dad

(Nostalgic Patriotism)
by Ralph Jay Scantlin

As I read through American history,
To see just what is in it for me (a
Citizen in the land of the bravest,
A resident in the home of the free),
Ma and Grandma made pies in the kitchen:
Pa and grandpa cut wood out in back;
The children worked hard on summer farmlands–
Learned “the three R’s” in a one-room school shack.
Great statesmen such as Benjamin Franklin,
Or a “Tea Party,” in Boston for you:
Freed America from foreign dominion–
Wove patterns deep in the Red, White, and Blue.
Our Declaration of Independence,
From foreign oppression injustice, shame–
Heaven’s court, our forefathers appealed to:
Life and death were some high stakes in the game!
Twas freedom for all private enterprise.
Commerce ran its own fiscal year.
No court had a law to restrict churches.
Free speech was guaranteed for all ears.
Pony express, railroads, new inventions--
Factories sprang up over the land--
Barley, cotton, corn, ice-cream church socials
So prosperous and blessed was “Uncle Sam!”
Time me fails to mention of Lincoln:
Stood up against all the south for the blacks.
Great notations are written in history,
Showing high honors on men such as Grant!
Examining our great Constitution--
For all, our brotherhood’s equally free!
I thank God for American history,
To see so much is in it for me!