Lies My Teacher Told Me Essay

3234 Words Aug 28th, 2010 13 Pages
Marshall Pickel
American history is taught in high schools all over the country. It is held as a core curriculum for every American student because of the importance found in teaching our youth of our “perfect nation” and our “perfect past”. However, contrary to popular belief, James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, has found American history to be taught with a completely nationalistic approach. Not only is the history of our country taught with a horribly strong patriotic sentiment, but generally with a misunderstood concept of the history of America by the writers themselves. America has never lived a lie as ruinous as that in which happens in classrooms every day. The words “American history” are no more
…show more content…
“The Pilgrims did not introduce the tradition; Eastern Indians had observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries.” (Loewen, pg. 90) When surveying students, Loewen found that students recalled all too much of the euphoric stories of Squanto helping his beloved Pilgrim friends and the Mayflower compact as the forerunner to our constitution. Not only have the students been mislead, but most simply have no idea of the truth. Could it be mere chance that students seem to miss the plague that destroyed nearly everything in its path? “Within three years the plague wiped out between 90 to 96 percent of the inhabitants of coastal New England.” (Loewen, pg. 75) Is this something not worth mentioning in an American history course? The fact is, to most textbook authors it really isn’t worth mentioning. Bringing a disease to a new land and wiping out nearly all of its inhabitants in no way can lead to any sort of honorable tale of glorious American triumph. This seems like a task not even the lying, manipulating authors could handle. On observing high school textbooks, Loewen found that of twelve textbooks “only three of them even mentioned Indian disease as a factor at Plymouth or anywhere in New England.”
Open Document