Lies My Teacher Told Me Quotes by James W. Loewen
Why is chapter 2 titled "1493"?
Chapter 2. In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Christopher Columbus sailed in from the blue. American history books present Columbus pretty much without precedent, and they portray him as America's first great hero. In so canonizing him, they reflect our national culture. Indeed, now that President's Day has combined Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, Columbus is one of only two people the United States honors by name in a national holiday. The one date that every school child remembers is , and sure enough, all twelve textbooks I surveyed include it.
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Loewen , a sociologist. It critically examines twelve popular American high school history textbooks and concludes that the textbook authors propagate false, Eurocentric and mythologized views of American history. In addition to his critique of the dominant historical themes presented in high school textbooks, Loewen presents themes that he says are ignored by traditional history textbooks. In Lies My Teacher Told Me , Loewen criticizes modern American high school history textbooks for containing incorrect information about people and events such as Christopher Columbus , the lies and inaccuracies in the history books regarding the dealings between the Europeans and the Native Americans , and their often deceptive and inaccurate teachings told about America's commerce in slavery. He further criticizes the texts for a tendency to avoid controversy and for their "bland" and simplistic style. He proposes that when American history textbooks elevate American historical figures to the status of heroes , they unintentionally give students the impression that these figures are superhumans who live in the irretrievable past. In other words, the history-as-myth method teaches students that America's greatest days have already passed.
All twelve textbooks fill many pages about the watershed year , with erroneous or unverifiable material. They overlook many pre-Columbian visitors and fail to analyze the 15th-century cultural changes that make Europeans respond to Columbus' "discovery". The Renaissance and Crusades are rightly mentioned but not put in context; while wrongly, Columbus and his sponsors are portrayed as humanists. Europe's population is shown as expanding and in need of increased trade and the Turks block the spice routes - maintaining the false archetype of a vaguely threatening Islam. The Age of Exploration is second only to the agricultural revolution in its importance to humanity, because it opens years of European domination. The textbooks, however, are vague on why it happens.