Growing up with Orrin Woodward and the LIFE business has ignited a love for the lessons that history provides. I often wonder why wasn’t such an important subject taught to the masses? Knowing that the lessons of history repeat, wouldn’t it be an important subject? Isn’t there wisdom from the ages? Is there not an important connection with the roots of our history and how we identify ourselves today? Aren’t there important principles that we should never lose if we hold our freedom and liberty in esteem? Why would curriculums exclude this most important information?
The aim of history is to achieve an understanding of the people and the causes of the past. There is a pursuit of truth. Cause and effect are predictable results. If one was to study the quarrels of the past, one can seek to understand both parties. By understanding the minds of the past we can learn to understand our own. We can then apply those lessons to the present. The reason the Middle Ages represented a period of darkness is that man was kept tongue tied by authority. Man’s pursuit of liberty is linked to his creativity. The Renaissance was the reaction to this darkness. We can study the past for the sake of the present. Why did things happen? There emerges a truth of history which combines a truth of philosophy.
What we uncover about how history is taught today leads to some shocking revelations. In April 7, 2006 Thomas Bender Professor of History at New Your University said, “I want to propose an end of American History as we have known it.” Political theorist Benjamin Barber said, “The Declaration of Independence…. Has achieved its task of building a nation. To build the new world that is now required calls for a new Declaration of Interdependence.” President of the American Textbook Council Gilbert T.Sewall warned, “History content is increasingly deformed by identity politics and pressure groups. Textbooks….have nearly buried the narrative about ideas and institutions that made our national government possible.” Jessica T. Matthews under the Carnagie Endowment published two books, ‘Challenging Traditional Understandings’, and ‘Rethinking the Meaning of Citizenship’.
The concept of ‘critical theory’ says that the system needs to be transformed. It’s core principles hold that equality of opportunity, free speech, a positive national identity, and a Faith in American Constitutional Democracy are fraudulent. The origins of ‘critical theory’ can be found in the writings of Hegel from the Frankfurt school which sought to combine the insight of Marx with Freud. Where Marxism emphasized economic conditions to change, those seeking influence using ‘critical theory’ would be fought at the level of “consciousness”. That is, the current system had to be rejected by its citizens intellectually and morally before power could be transferred.
It’s amazing where the study of history leads. It’s amazing what can be discovered that’s not being taught. It’s amazing that the founders left as a set of clues if we could find them. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered….it can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when people shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic government, being incapable of any other.” God Bless, George Guzzardo