American History

Posted: March 1, 2011 by danieljtorres in Uncategorized

In my Themes of Modern History my professor asked us to give a brief overview of the American Revolution. The student responded with a seventh grade textbook version and I was a tad bit surprised he didn’t start waiving an American flag at the end of his story. My professor said good and we moved on, yet his answer really bothered me. It made me think of that recent Gallop poll that ranked Ronald Regan as the greatest President of all-time and put John F. Kennedy at number five. Now don’t get me wrong, I love America! I think it is one of the best countries in the world! I just don’t know why we over glorify our history and forget certain aspects of it.

Early Americans were angered about “taxation without representation” a more then valid thing to be angered about and people have gone to war over much less. We forget that the reason Colonists were taxed differently was because the British protected us during the French and Indian War. Shortly after the Boston Massacre the Townshend Act (which is where most of the new taxes came from) were actually repealed. The tax on tea was not repealed however. This lead to the very famous Boston Tea Party (I just realized I had to add Boston before Tea Party). The sad part about this is that the Colonists dressed as Native Americans to throw the tea into Boston Harbor. They were trying to let the Native-Americans take the fall for their revolutionary act. It is also forgotten that the tea they illegally imported from India was more expensive then the taxed tea from the British.

The American Revolution is not the only place we do this. A lot of people remember being told in grade school about Washington’s wooden teeth. Yet, I don’t recall anyone talking about how he also had a set of real teeth…ripped from the mouth of a slave. Thomas Jefferson, in my opinion the most brilliant American to ever live had a relationship with one of his slaves Sally Hemings. The man who predominantly wrote the Declaration of Independence with the famous phrase, “All men are created equal…” In reality all rich, white, landowning men, were in fact equal in the eyes of early Colonists. Let’s not forget the horrors of slavery were originally included in the Declaration but later removed.

Andrew Jackson whose face adorns the twenty dollar bill was a genocidal maniac who attempted to get rid of the Native-Americans much like Hitler tried to get rid of the Jews during WWII. I wonder how many people have ever really been taught in depth about the Trail of Tears and that time period. In my opinion the greatest President Franklin Roosevelt had a fair share of interesting moments himself. When Roosevelt died in 1945 by his bed side was Lucy Page Mercer Rutherfurd his mistress who often visited the White House when Eleanor wasn’t around. After some of Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation was ruled unconstitutional he attempted to pack the Supreme Court with people who would vote otherwise. He tried to increase the number of members and create an age limit.

Abraham Lincoln, now touted as one of the greatest Republicans, would have been a liberal Democrat by today’s standards. The man literally suspended Habeas Corpus meaning that we could detain people for any reason for any amount of time. Thank goodness this would never happen today…oh wait it did. Who could forget that whole Patriot Act thing.

We once set up camps to detain Japanese Americans shortly after Pearl Harbor. Under the order of President Roosevelt we set up concentration camps on US soil. Then in 1944 the US Supreme Court ruled this action constitutional. Today we only house such camps off the mainland…

How about that awful man Richard Nixon! Yes, Nixon’s legacy will forever be dirtied by Water Gate. He also started modern trade relations with China and actually ended the Vietnam War. We forget that though.

Are these parts of American history important? Without a doubt some of the things I mentioned are and some really aren’t. I am not sure if young children need to know all of these facts. I just wonder why we pretend these things never happened. Wasn’t questioning our government and their actions an integral part of being a Patriot? Yet, somehow I had to start my post by stating how much I loved America so you wouldn’t get the wrong impression. I just think it is dangerous when we pretend parts of history didn’t happen. I know some people may claim that we don’t do this. But does anyone remember what the 112th Congress did after they met for the first time two months ago? They did something that had never been done in the history of Congress. They publicly read the Constitution. Did anyone notice they missed a part? They forgot that whole three fifths compromise part…


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