Revolutionary War Historical Article
How to Teach Revisionist and Politically Correct History
By Donald N. Moran
Editor's Note: This article was reprinted from the June-July 2000 Edition of the The Liberty Tree and Valley Compatriot Newsletter
Every Compatriot knows that the reason behind the lack of historical knowledge of the younger generations is their new educational curriculum - - - they are taught political correctness and multiculturalism, not history.
But how does one go about teaching theories that are not supported by the facts? Easy! You invent "new" facts, and you ignore the truth. You employ especially prepared fictional accounts, yes, fiction to teach history! This is necessary as real history will not support the politically correct or multi-cultural agenda. The student will encounter 'lessons' in his/her text book that ask: "Draw upon the evidence from books such as My Brother Sam is Dead; Jump Ship to Freedom; The War Comes to Willy Freeman and Johnny Tremain to determine how the war [Revolutionary War] affected the lives of the people."
In the State of California, our Board of Education has supplied the teachers with suggested reading lists. These can also be found in the text of the state approved history books. (To their credit many of our teachers choose to ignore these recommendations, nevertheless, they are still there!)
To horrify you, we are submitting a few examples with a brief description of their story lines. Since we are the Sons of the American Revolution, we will concentrate on the Revolutionary War period, however, we will furnish examples covering other eras.
My BROTHER SAM IS DEAD - - is a fictional novel about a fictitious character, Sam Meeker, as told by his younger brother Tim. The Meeker Family were Tories from Redding, Connecticut. In opposition to his family's wishes, Sam Meeker joined the Continental Army, serving for three years. Although innocent, he was court martialed for cattle theft and was executed by firing squad at the direction of General Israel Putham. The gruesome description of his death reads: "They turned Sam sideways to the crowd. Three soldiers stepped in front of him and raised their muskets. They were so close the gun muzzles were almost touching Sam's clothes. I heard myself scream 'Don't shoot him, don't shoot him' and at that moment Sam slammed backwards as if he'd been knocked back by a mallet. I never heard the guns roar. He hit the ground on his belly and flopped over on his back. He wasn't dead yet. He lay there shaking and thrashing about, his knees jerking up and down. They had shot him so close that his clothes were on fire. He went on jerking with the flames on his chest until another soldier shot him again - he stopped jerking."
Your editor is well. read on the subject of the American Revolution, but has never read of a firing party being conducted in this manner. The book has a a Loyalist - British point of view and is most definitely anti-American! The last chapter of the book, five pages, is entitled "How Much of this book is true?" The authors try to justify their writings with the able use of half-truths and innuendoes. However, the last statement in the book sums up their opinion of the American Revolution: "And so that leaves one last question: Could the United States have made its way without all that agony and killing?" To the credit of our public libraries, this book appears on the list of "The Most Frequently Banned Books in the 1990's".
JUMP SHIP TO FREEDOM - - is a novel about a fictitious Connecticut slave named Daniel Arabus. The book alludes to his father's service in the Revolutionary War and the problems he had in receiving his back pay. The book's main theme is concerned with the post war period and the legal battle Daniel fought to obtain his freedom. This book leaves you believing that the Revolutionary War was unnecessary and fought to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
WAR COMES TO WILLY FREEMAN - - is a novel about a fictitious free black girl, Wilhelmina Freeman, whose father is killed when Fort Griswold falls. Her mother was taken prisoner of war by the British. Disguised as a boy, Wilhelmina travels to New York in search of her Mother, and like "Jump Ship to Freedom", the book ends up as a court case over slavery. It should be noted that Wilhelmina's mother was probably the only women taken "prisoner of war" during the entire Revolution.
JOHNNY TREMAIN - - is a novel by Esther Forbes, which is her children's version of her award winning biography "Paul Revere And The World He Lived In". Its inclusion in the reading list is interesting, and probably was added not because of its content, but because it is well known to our generation, it justified the acceptance to the other three books. The Walt Disney Company made a movie based on this book. It should also be noted that these are all of the books on the suggested reading list for the Revolutionary War.
We question why authentic biographies, such as Joseph Plume Martin's "Private Yankee Doodle" isn't on their suggested reading list. But, then, it presents a patriotic, pro-American account, relating the true feelings of the patriots that gained us our independence.
Other periods in our history are also 'taught' by fictional accounts. For the Civil War period, with its thousands of excellent first person accounts, the State selected yet another fiction book, by Clidton Wisler: THUNDER ON THE TENNESSEE - - This novel is about 16 year old Willie Delamer, a Texan, who, with his father joins the Confederate Army. Unlike the majority of the Southern soldiers, who were fighting for 'State's Rights', the Delamers were fighting to keep their slaves!
The book paints a very one-sided picture of what the Civil War was all about.
One must ask, what reading material is required reading for our recent history?
For the World War II era, which our generation looks back on with justifiable pride, the reading list is limited to: "Back to Manzanar"; "Citizen 13600"; "Kim / Kimi, Nisei Daughters" and "The Journey to Topez". All four books are about the internment of the Japanese during the War.
In the 'lesson' section of one state approved text book the question asked is: "Analyze how African Americans, Mexican Americans and Native Americans contributed to the war effort". This is a reasonable question, if there was any reference to the accomplishment of the American people as a whole, which is completely ignored.
On the cold war era, there is a question which tells it all:"How did U.S. support for self-determination conflict with USSR's desire for security in Eastern Europe? "
Being taught this type of history, is it any wonder our young people neither know their history or appreciate their precious heritage?
As editor of the State's quarterly newsletter, "The California Compatriot", I have been asked to publish transcripts of the winning Rumbaugh Oration contestant's speech, or the essay from the winner of the Knight Essay Contest. In the years that I have served as editor I have read only a couple that I could publish. They are generally well done, and the young people have tried their best, but their research materials are so bad, so politically correct, that they can not be expected to get their facts straight - - they probably don't have access to the factual history.
In regard to the availability of factual history, your editor has noticed a great number books marked "removed", "salvaged", "discarded", etc. (the traditional and excellent history books) being sold in used book stores. These books have been withdrawn from the holdings of both school and public libraries. He made inquiries as to why these books are being removed and was told that there is only so much shelf space in school libraries, hence, those books not being checked out by the students (or better stated not fulfilling reading assignments), are removed to make room for those new books that are being read. Therefore, the "suggested reading lists" as discussed, are not only distorting our history and heritage, but eliminating access to it!
Compatriots, this is very serious, it is as dangerous to America as was the attack on Pearl Harbor!
We as members of the Sons of the American Revolution pledged ourselves to preserve the memory of our Revolutionary War patriot ancestors and their era and ought to be concentrating our collective efforts in that direction.