I consider myself a historian of sorts. For the past decade and a half I have been collecting every document I could find from the period which saw our Republic come into existence. Over the past few years I have expanded my search to include documents relating to the period most commonly known as the Civil War. Over the course of this journey of mine there has been a question that has been repeating itself with increasing frequency: Why wasn’t I taught this in school?
I am from the generation known as the Baby Boomers and I graduated from high school in 1976; the year of our nation’s bicentennial. I can honestly say that 90% of the data I have collected was never taught in any of my history or civics classes.
I am a parent now with a son who also passed through the public school system. I was particularly interested in what the schools would teach my son when it came time for him to take U.S. History and Civics classes. On one occasion I had a lengthy conversation with one of my son’s teachers regarding the Constitution and our system of government. I was flabbergasted when my son’s teacher told me that I knew more about the subject than he did. This individual told me that he’d never even heard of The Federalist Papers. He also told me that I should be teaching his class but that the powers that be would not allow me to deviate from established curriculum.
I don’t know if you educators and administrators know who Noah Webster was, but he was one of those men who lived during the period which saw our nation gain its independence from Britain. Although I am not a fan of his nationalist vision of a Utopian America, he did give us something unique and valuable; Webster is most commonly known as the father of American Dictionaries. Had people been able to put two and two together they would notice that his name graces the cover of Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as well and Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
In 1788 Noah Webster made the following comments, “But 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; he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen, who have wrought a revolution in her favor.
A selection of essays, respecting the settlement and geography of America; the history of the late revolution and of the most remarkable characters and events that distinguished it, and a compendium of the principles of the federal and provincial governments, should be the principal school book in the United States. These are interesting objects to every man; they call home the minds of youth and fix them upon the interests of their own country, and they assist in forming attachments to it, as well as in enlarging the understanding.”
Let me tell you something, after years of research and the ensuing discussion/arguments with the average citizen, I can, without hesitation, tell you that the average American doesn’t know the first thing about the history of their country, it’s geography, nor its system of government; and if they do, the things they have been taught have been outright lies, or perversions of the truth. The only thing which eclipses the ignorance of the average American is their apathy.
The commonly held belief that America is a democracy is just one example of the lies our children are being taught. Even though may recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, which clearly states that America is a Republic, our schools still teach our children that America is a democracy. The problem is that our children are not being taught the critical skill of reasoning; how to take information and come to a conclusion based upon the facts presented them. Had they been taught this vital skill they would be asking: “Why are we being told America is a democracy when the Pledge tells us we are a Republic?” The truth is that our Founders despised democracies; calling them vile and spectacles of turbulence. Why then are our children being taught that America is a democracy?
As educators you have chosen to take it upon yourself the sacred responsibility of teaching our children the truth. More importantly your job is to teach them how to think; to analyze facts and data and make informed decisions. How can our children do that if they are not being given all the facts, or if they are being lied to?
A simple 3 question test is all it takes to prove that most graduates from the public school system do not know the first thing about this country’s system of government.
1) Explain how the checks and balances in the Constitution are supposed to work.
2) Why did the drafters of the Constitution come up with a bicameral Congress?
3) Name a few of the powers granted government as found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
These are simple questions that the answers to any graduate should have committed to memory. I know from personal experience that an overwhelming majority of people cannot answer them. Yet these same people vote and are able to recite the lyrics from a number of pop songs or tell me the history of the teams who have won past Super Bowls.
These graduates from the public school system go out into the world believing that they are informed, and then vote based upon the opinions formed by the information you have taught them. Is it any wonder our country is in such a sad state?
However, there is no more grievous damage being done to their minds than the rubbish you teach them regarding our nation’s Second War for Independence, (i.e. The Civil War). The defamation of character of those Southern States who only sought to exercise the same right enshrined within the Declaration of Independence is something for which you can never be forgiven.
How is it that if one were to ask the average citizen the reason for which the Civil War was fought, the answer would be slavery, when the facts clearly prove otherwise? How is it that you can claim the title of educators when you are filling our children’s minds with lies?
If, as you are teaching our children, the Civil War was fought over slavery, why would the South risk war when, if all they wanted to do was protect the institution of slavery, was ratify an existing proposal for a Constitutional Amendment?
On March 2, 1861 the 36th Congress of the United States passed a proposed amendment to the Constitution, which was then submitted to the States for ratification. The text of this Corwin Amendment states, “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
In his first Inaugural Address Abraham Lincoln made reference to the Corwin Amendment by saying, “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”
Furthermore, Lincoln, in a letter to Horace Greeley, dated August 22, 1862, declared, “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”
Our children are being taught that this conflict was fought over slavery, when the truth is right there in Lincoln’s words; the restoration of the national authority. Since our children are not being taught; either because you chose not to, or you yourselves don’t know, there is a difference between national and federal forms of government.
The Civil War was the final act of the consolidation of all power and authority into Washington D.C. and the eradication of State sovereignty. The Civil War was the final step in what Thomas Jefferson wrote to Charles Hammond in 1821, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
Yet all we are taught about Abraham Lincoln and his war is that he was the Great Emancipator who saved the Union. The fact that he supported an amendment which would have made slavery a permanent institution in the United States is never mentioned. The fact that the States had every right in the world to sever the ties which bound them to the Union is never mentioned.
In his first Inaugural Address President Thomas Jefferson declared, “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”
Our children are being taught that the South was evil for seeking to perpetuate slavery; that the Civil War was fought so that they could keep their slaves. Abraham Lincoln is idolized and placed upon a pedestal as a great president when the truth was he was a tyrant. Under his command the generals of the Union Army devastated the Southern States; razing the Shenandoah Valley and then later, in Sherman’s March to the Sea a swath of devastation was made from Atlanta to the Atlantic Ocean that is still visible from space today. On top of all that Lincoln imprisoned many who opposed his war of aggression; violating their freedom of speech and of the press, and even considered sending out an arrest warrant for Justice Taney as revenge for his ruling against Lincoln. And this man is the one who is idolized while the honorable names of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis are demeaned?
I do not know how you can justify calling yourselves educators when you are more akin to ministers of propaganda. You may as well have taken your ideas for education from George Orwell’s book 1984.
What you are guilty of is a travesty; poisoning the minds of our children with lies and half truths, while depriving them of the knowledge and heritage which is rightfully theirs. You are a disgrace to the memory of those who established our Republic on the foundation of liberty; teaching instead that we are all members of a global society and that the concept of individual sovereignty is outdated and no longer relevant. Our children do not grow up knowing their rights, or that it is their sacred duty to defend them. Our children do not grow up being taught the limits upon their government and therefore vote for the candidate making the best sounding promises.
How you can honestly claim the title of educators is beyond me. In fact, you should be ashamed of yourselves. If there is any justice in the world, or the next, you will one day pay for your sins.