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Lessons In History

June 23, 2011 by  

In his column this week, Patrick J. Buchanan wrote about the ignorance of today’s American schoolchildren, as revealed by the results of the National Assessment of Education Progress test.

On a history test given to 31,000 pupils, most fourth-graders could not identify a picture of Abraham Lincoln or why he was important. Most eighth-graders could not identify an advantage American forces had in the Revolutionary War, most 12th-graders did not know why America entered World War II or that China was North Korea’s ally in the Korean War.

One of the questions on the test showed a poster put out by the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies in 1940 that depicted a boot with a huge swastika on its sole about to trample the Statue of Liberty and asked which country the boot represented. Four countries were listed as possible answers. But a majority of students failed to pick Germany.

Buchanan wrote:

“We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” historian David McCullough told The Wall Street Journal.

“History textbooks,” added McCullough, “are (sic) “badly written.” Many texts have been made “so politically correct as to be comic. Very minor characters that are currently fashionable are given considerable space, whereas people of major consequence” — such as inventor Thomas Edison — “are given very little space or none at all.”

Trendies and minorities have their sensibilities massaged in the new history, which is, says McCullough, “often taught in categories — women’s history, African American history, environmental history — so that many students have no sense of chronology … no idea of what followed what.”

But if the generations coming out of our schools do not know our past, do not who we are or what we have done as a people, how will they come to love America, refute her enemies or lead her confidently?

This ignorance of history is a plague that is leading America down the road to ruin. Socialism (and its related “isms” communism and Marxism), which just 30 years ago was rightly considered a danger to America, has not just become an acceptable alternative to a growing number of today’s youths, but is actually something many are striving for.

Few are the people today younger than 40 who appreciate the Constitution and the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and fewer still are those who have ever read it, much less understand what it means and says. And an even smaller number know that the tyranny of the British Empire the Founders rejected and defeated is no less than the tyranny our own government now imposes upon us.

The result is an acceptance — even an embrace — of the growing police state in exchange for a life of government handouts.

Noah Webster (who authored the first American textbook and dictionary) once said: “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”

Parents who expect their children to learn the real history of America in a government school are deluded. It’s something that must be taught at home. And that teaching is vital to restoring the American Republic.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Peter Krauss

    I graduated High School in 1989 and I never had a single “History” class. The classes I had were called, “Social Studies.” Interesting how this change in our schools has gone unchallenged, unnoticed or isconsidered unimportant. Let’s teach HISTORY again!

    • http://Moreexpensive,moreunknowproblems. Lewis Munn

      I learned more about WW2 in 3 hours in a memorial site and a diorama in Singapore than in all my high school history! Was excellent.

      I am told by my friend there that the socialist/communist government has scuttled most of it to expand a gambling house for greater government profits.

    • Handyman

      Citizens Know us history, Communist don’t need to, and should not know.

  • Ron

    Anybody for doing away with the Department of Education? I graduated from HS in 1963 and we really studied history, both the men and events. We had debates on Hamilton and the central bank, the Constitution vs the Articles of Confederation, and much more. We also learned that not all of our founding fathers were the good guys, but at least we knew who they were and why we thought that way. Today we have a mess, as today’s students don’t know anything about our history and don’t know why they should care, after all playing another game on their latest gadget is much more important.

    • Handyman

      Future Communist don’t need to know the rich history of the USA!
      They don’t know about Citizens rights, instead they have been taught the one world civil (usless rights).

    • Nima

      Ron Paul thinks we should (and I agree)… its been a failure time to end it.

  • Mike Whalen

    I graduated from a Catholic high school forty years ago & was literally “saturated” with history during my entire matriculation.
    We covered ancient & Biblical history along with that of Western Civilization. There was a lot of emphasis put on the history of Christianity & its relationship to the world at large. U.S. history was also taught to me by a very patriotic gentleman from the South who happened to be a Baptist! One teacher required us to explore the history of our ethnicity whether it be German, Irish, Italian, etc. and report on some aspect of it, for example literature, political and so forth. History was also intertwined in the other required courses we took, be it English, Latin, theology and even mathematics. I remember our algebra teacher giving us the history of his subject. Many were surprised that the Arabs invented it!
    We were even taught traditional civics and were one of the first high schools in the U.S. to offer economics back then.
    In retrospect, I agree that history should be taught. However in 21st century America, both the product (teacher/school) & consumer (student) leave a lot to be desired. Time will tell, but we’re running out of it. And as George Santayana once said, “those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

    • http://Moreexpensive,moreunknowproblems. Lewis Munn

      Sounds like a good school.

      I heard the quote given as, “Those who do not learn from History are condemned to repeat it.” Same idea, only lot’s stronger.

      It is very frightening to see history repeating itself, only in spades.

      When I was young we had Union Violence in my home town, and a guy got shot, and a lot of windows broken. Now the union violence seems much greater than when I was a youth.

  • TML

    Very good article! It brings to light the importance of self-learning/teaching outside of an incoherent structure fed to our children from the “politically correct” view of government (DOE).

    I became infinitely more interested in History after I got out of school and began learning on my own, and I believe that it’s no stretch of the imagination to say that one of the major reasons I wasn’t into History in school, is because of that lack of coherent structure… holes in the “politically correct” spoon fed version of History that our government wishes to bestow upon new young minds.

    • Handyman

      More money for the schools to make good Communist out of our children?
      I say close them down now that they are not needed!

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Kay C.

    As many of my generation, I too am very concerned about the youth of today not knowing our country’s history.

    Sadly, in Illinois, Social Studies ( history )in the elementary schools is not tested with the other subjects as it is considered (just reading).

    My fourth grade teacher told us during the cold war that the Communists would not come with bombs and tanks; but rather, through the media. I guess she never thought about the education department doing the same.

    • Handyman

      The Communist are here today! In our government taxing and spending and making a group of talented people useless. Sending our jobs to foreign countries for many decades. Overpricing everything we buy.

  • RG

    I totally agree with this article. I went to a very good school, and was taught some history, but there was more emphasis put on learning about other cultures of the world, and it was demeaning to me to hear over and over how lame the American culture is, and how ridiculous patriotic people are. My Dad served in the USAF, my grandpa in the Army, my other grandpa in the Navy, uncles in the Marine corps, and even a couple in Coast Guard. I hated the fact that my teachers had this bias that amounted to the members of my family who served were idiots who were wasting their time and life. They didn’t teach us why it was necessary to have a strong Department of Defense, and instead pushed Socialism and Globalism. So my Dad did what every good American parent should do when they see their children being taught opinion and socially correct garbage, rather than being given an education: he pulled us, and sent us to a private school when I was in 6th grade, and even *GASP* home schooled us for a bit.I learned more about true history in those 2 years of home schooling than I did in any other school. When I went to college (1999) I realized what a great service my parents did for us in these actions. I know every one can’t school their children at home, but it would certainly be preferable to giving them slop that passes for history education, and would demand that parents have a working knowledge of what their child’s education entails.

  • Ed23

    Why was he important? for being the first president to suspend Constitutional rights of citizens? He was hated by almost everyone in his day and was referred to as as the “little Caesar”, and mocked in newspapers across the country in editorial cartoons and articles. The libs want to push him forward as using the civil war to free the slaves, but he waited 2 years into the war before declaring them freed, and his hope in doing this was simply to have the slaves turn on their masters and their master’s family in hopes that it would end the war when southerners returned after hearing of the uprising. But that failed miserably, since the slaves remained loyal to their masters and in fact many of them joined the ranks of the confederacy to fight the union. But of course all of this is no longer taught in schools. It not PC, and it doesn’t fit the progressive agenda or their account of America’s past sins. Progressives are only happy if they keep us divided.

  • RuthAnna

    I agree with you all. However I ask you to remember that many many teachers feel your frustrations and many have even left the field. Unfortunately they are some of the best ones out there. They burn out and feel bulldozed under from trying to make a difference in a system that tells them to sit down and shut up basically. My daughter was in the system in early ED for 9 years and had to take a break. She had 6 year olds being suspended, bringing knives to school, smoking in restrooms. One little girl demonstrated how her Mommy and friends snort Coke for show and tell. Many of the kids have health and emotional issues that cause them to be full time distractions to the other kids and diciplinary problems. Teachers who love to teach and want to teach dont get room assistance or Class Moms to help out in classroom of 20-30+ kids too often anymore. To many parents dont care, never show up and look at school like free day care. By the time these kids make it to Jr. High they are so far behind as to make High School a black hole. I actually had a youg man tell me he only went to school to hook up with girls, nothing else mattered. No surprise many graduateing Seniors can barely read above third grade level.
    The economy dictates my daughter go back full time this year. We all hope for a better experience, for her and the kids but I fear its only gotten worse. I hope to fill in the gaps for my grandsons while Mommy is at work. Im expecting to have a hard time finding materials that I can trust and belive are truth based to use. If anyone can direct me in the best direction so I can supplement the public school experience please let me know. Much appreciated.

  • sybucket

    The only answer is Private Schools….except most can’t afford them. My parents sent me to Riverside Military Acadamy in Gainsvile Georgia in 1964. Though I didn’t think so at the time, it was about the best thing they could have done for me. Not only did I “grow up” there, but I learned more than I would have ever learned in Public School.

  • Montie R

    The progressive/liberal mind ROT is winning.

  • s c

    How long can so many people be so STUPID? In the business world, if you continually pump money into something that will NOT produce superior results, you a) cut back on funding or you b) STOP the program.
    Since our ‘leaders’ don’t have the common sense of a brick or a trained chimp, it must be obvious to most people that these “leaders” are the problem. I’m told that even Catholic schools aren’t as good as they once were (whay happened?). So, either send kids to a PRIVATE school or HOMESCHOOL them. Bypass the problem [elected, useful idiots and PUBLIC schools], or learn to live with it and surrender to the DUH.
    If adults are no better than kids or elected criminals in figuring out where the problem is or how to SOLVE it, then we DESERVE whatever happens.
    And to think America had so much potential – until we all but gave up and expected elected criminals to our thinking for us. S A D !


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