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Aug 14

By the Book

History is often said to be written by the conquerors, but that doesn’t stop the
defeated, the also-rans, the marginalized, and the unappreciated from writing
history textbooks.

HISTORY LESSONS
How Textbooks from Around the World Portray U.S. History

Here are a few things students in this country will not find in their history books but that students from certain other countries may know for a fact:

  • a) Our revolution was inspired by the work of the French Enlightenment philosophers (not the essays of John Locke).
  • b) We won that war largely because the British commanders were slow and blundering (not because of the wisdom and determination of George Washington).
  • c) What we thought of as a revolution was for many inhabitants of British North America an extended civil war, in which many were forced into exile.
  • d) After Gen. Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, the Spanish and French fleets opened full-scale war with the British in the Caribbean.

As might perhaps be imagined, the facts betray points of view: a) comes from a French history text; b) from a British one; c) from a Canadian school history; and d) from a text published for the English-speaking West Indies.

It’s interesting to get a glimpse of how other countries
perceive American history. (Thanks, E-Pression)

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