Los libros de texto de U.S cuentan cuentos
Las patrañas que descubrió James Loewen, cuando analizó el contenido de los principales libros de historia de las escuelas de Estados Unidos
Historiador y sociólogo Estadounidense, que analizó los libros de texto que se utilizaban en las escuelas de U.S encontrando graves errores.
La Leyenda Negra y sus consecuencias en las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y el Mundo Hispánico
Este profesor Estadounidense realizó un análisis de una docena de libros de texto de historia de la enseñanza secundaria. Durante 2 años estudió y comparó estos libros de texto. Y nos explica porque no encontró ninguno adecuado. Consideró que ninguno es interesante para los estudiantes. Los estudiantes han perdido el contacto con la verdadera historia de Estados Unidos. Estos libros son una combinación de optimismo sin sentido, desinformación, patriotismo ciego además de mentiras descaradas. Estos libros ocultan todos los conflictos, dramatismos y situaciones de ambigüedad que ocurrieron en la historia de U.S.
Considera que los libros cuentas historias falsas, centradas en los europeos y elaboran mitos. Muchas de las distorsiones que cuentan estos libros ni siquiera han sido elaboradas por los autores que adornan las portadas.
Lowen parte de la idea de que la historia se contar y explicar como una serie de causas y hechos, detallando también el contexto en el que ocurrieron. Trata a través de la explicación del caso Estadounidenses enseñar como se debe divulgar la historia, en las escuelas y evitar el relato único de lo ocurrido. Recomiendo que se utilicen al menos dos libros de texto, para que los alumnos puedan comparar y hacerse preguntas sobre lo que realmente ocurrió y porque lo presentan de esa manera.
Patrañas que me contó mi profe(Loewen)
Última actualización el 2021-05-20 / Enlaces de afiliados / Imágenes de la API para Afiliados
Lies My Teacher Told Me:
Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
Última actualización el 2021-07-20 / Enlaces de afiliados / Imágenes de la API para Afiliados
Children of affluent white families
Even when they are forced to take classes in history, they repress what they
learn, so every year or two another study decries what our seventeen-year-olds
Even male children of affluent white families think that history as taught in
high school is “too neat and rosy.”
African American, Native American, and
Latino students view history with a special dislike. They also learn history
especially poorly. Students of color do only slightly worse than white students in
mathematics. If you’ll pardon my grammar, nonwhite students do more worse in
English and most worse in history.
Something intriguing is going on here:
surely history is not more difficult for minorities than trigonometry or Faulkner.
Students don’t even know they are alienated, only that they “don’t like social
studies” or “aren’t any good at history.” In college, most students of color give
history departments a wide berth.
They portray the past as a simpleminded morality play
Conversely, textbooks seldom use the past to illuminate the present. They portray the past as a simpleminded morality play. “Be a good citizen” is the message that textbooks extract from the past. “You have a proud heritage. Be all that you can be. After all, look at what the United States has accomplished.”
While there is nothing wrong with optimism, it can become something of a burden for students of color, children of working-class parents, girls who notice the dearth of female historical figures, or members of any group that has not achieved socioeconomic success. The optimistic approach prevents any understanding of failure other than blaming the victim. No wonder children of
color are alienated. After a thousand pages, bland optimism gets pretty offputting for everyone.
Textbooks in American history stand in sharp contrast to other teaching materials. Why are history textbooks so bad? Nationalism is one of the culprits. Textbooks are often muddled by the conflicting desires to promote inquiry and to indoctrinate blind patriotism. “Take a look in your history book, and you’ll see why we should be proud” goes an anthem often sung by high school glee clubs. But we need not even look inside.
The titles themselves tell the story
The Great Republic, The American Pageant, Land of Promise, Triumph of the
Such titles differ from the titles of all other textbooks students read in high school or college. Chemistry books, for example, are called Chemistry or Principles of Chemistry, not Triumph of the Molecule. And you can tell history textbooks just from their covers, graced as they are with American flags, bald eagles, the Washington Monument.
None of the facts is remembered, because they are presented simply as one damn thing after another. While textbook authors tend to include most of the trees and all too many twigs, they neglect to give readers even a glimpse of what they might find memorable: the forests. Textbooks stifle meaning by suppressing causation. Students exit history textbooks without having developed the ability to think coherently about social life.
Even though the books bulge with detail, even though the courses are so busy they rarely reach 1960, our teachers and our textbooks still leave out most of what we need to know about the American past. And despite their emphasis on facts, some of the factoids they present are flatly wrong or unverifiable. Errors often go uncorrected, partly because the history profession does not bother to review high school textbooks. In sum, startling errors of omission and distortion mar American histories. History can be imagined as a pyramid. At its base are the millions of primary sources—the plantation records, city directories, census data, speeches, songs, photographs, newspaper articles, diaries, and letters that document times past. Based on these primary materials, historians write secondary works—books and articles on subjects ranging from deafness on
Martha’s Vineyard to Grant’s tactics at Vicksburg. Historians produce hundreds of these works every year, many of them splendid. In theory, a few historians, working individually or in teams, then synthesize the secondary literature into tertiary works—textbooks covering all phases of U.S. history.
In practice, however, it doesn’t happen that way. Instead, history textbooks are clones of each other. The first thing editors do when recruiting new authors is to send them a half-dozen examples of the competition. Often a textbook is written not by the authors whose names grace its cover, but by minions deep in the bowels of the publisher’s offices. When historians do write textbooks, they
risk snickers from their colleagues—tinged with envy, but snickers nonetheless: “Why are you devoting time to pedagogy rather than original research?”
Five-sixths of all Americans
As a result of all this, most high school seniors are hamstrung in their efforts to analyze controversial issues in our society. (I know because I encounter these students the next year as college freshmen.) We’ve got to do better. Five-sixths of all Americans never take a course in American history beyond high school. What our citizens “learn” in high school forms much of what they know about our past.
At the effects of using standard American history textbooks. It shows that the books actually make students stupid.
We are not really new creatures
As a sociologist, I am reminded constantly of the power of the past. Although each of us comes into the world de novo, we are not really new creatures. We arrive into a social slot, born not only to a family but also a religion, community, and, of course, a nation and a culture. Sociologists understand the power of social structure and culture to shape not only our path through the world but also our understanding of that path and that world. Yet we often have to expend much energy trying to get students to see the influence on their lives of the social structure and culture they inherit. Not understanding their past renders many Americans incapable of thinking effectively about our present and future. If our journey together through this book will make the realities of our past more apparent, then this “most irrelevant” subject—American history—might become
more relevant to you. At least, that’s my hope.
The process of hero-making
What passes for identity in America is a series of myths
about one’s heroic ancestors.
One is astonished in the study of history at the
recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten,
distorted, skimmed over. We must not remember that
Daniel Webster got drunk but only remember that he
was a splendid constitutional lawyer. We must forget
that George Washington was a slave owner . . . and
simply remember the things we regard as creditable
and inspiring. The difficulty, of course, with this
philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive
and example; it paints perfect men and noble nations,
but it does not tell the truth.
Heroification, a degenerative process (much like calcification) that makes people over into heroes. Through this process, our educational media turn flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflicts, pain, credibility, or human interest.
Spain found gold
In 1499, when Columbus finally found gold on Haiti in significant amounts, Spain
became the envy of Europe.
After 1500, Portugal, France, Holland, and England joined in conquering the Americas. These nations were at least as brutal as Spain. The English, for example, unlike the Spanish, did not colonize by making use of Native labor but simply forced the Indians out of the way.
Many American Indians fled English colonies to Spanish territories (Florida, Mexico)
in search of more humane treatment.
2- The true importance of Christopher Columbus
Columbus is above all the figure with whom the
Modern Age—the age by which we may delineate these
past 500 years—properly begins, and in his character
as in his exploits we are given an extraordinary insight
into the patterns that shaped the age at its start and still
for the most part shape it today.
As a subject for research, the possibility of African
discovery of America has never been a tempting one for
American historians. In a sense, we choose our own
history, or more accurately, we select those vistas of
history for our examinations which promise us the
greatest satisfaction, and we have had little appetite to
explore the possibility that our founding father was a
—SAMUEL D . MARBLE
History is the polemics of the victor.
—WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR.
What we committed in the Indies stands out among the
most unpardonable offenses ever committed against
God and mankind and this trade [in American Indian
slaves] as one of the most unjust, evil, and cruel among
—BARTOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS
In fourteen hundred and ninety-three, Columbus stole
all he could see.
—TRADITIONAL VERSE, UPDATED
Must not judge Columbus
Of course, this new history must not judge Columbus by standards from our
own time. In 1493 the world had not decided, for instance, that slavery was
Some American Indian nations enslaved other Indians. Africans enslaved
other Africans. Europeans enslaved other Europeans. To attack Columbus for
doing what everyone else did would be unreasonable.
Opposed the slavery
However, some Spaniards of the time—Bartolomé de Las Casas, for example
—opposed the slavery, land-grabbing, and forced labor that Columbus
introduced on Haiti. Las Casas began as an adventurer and became a plantation
owner. Then he switched sides, freed his Natives, became a priest, and fought
desperately for humane treatment of the Indians.
When Columbus and other
Europeans argued that American Indians were inferior, Las Casas pointed out
that Indians were sentient and rational human beings, just like anyone else.
When other historians tried to overlook or defend the Indian slave trade, begun
by Columbus, Las Casas denounced it as “among the most unpardonable
offenses ever committed against God and mankind.” He helped prompt Spain to
enact laws against American Indian slavery.
Although these laws came too late to help the Arawaks and were often disregarded, they did help some Indians survive.
Centuries after his death, Las Casas was still influencing history: Simon
Bolívar used Las Casas’s writings to justify the revolutions between 1810 and
1830 that liberated Latin America from Spanish domination.
When history textbooks leave out the Arawaks, they offend Native Americans.
When they omit the possibility of African and Phoenician precursors to
Columbus, they offend African Americans. When they glamorize explorers such
as de Soto just because they were white, our histories offend all people of color.
When they leave out Las Casas, they omit an interesting idealist with whom we
all might identify. When they glorify Columbus, our textbooks prod us toward
identifying with the oppressor. When textbook authors omit the causes and
process of European world domination, they offer us a history whose purpose
must be to keep us unaware of the important questions.
Considering that virtually none of the standard fare
surrounding Thanksgiving contains an ounce of
authenticity, historical accuracy, or cross-cultural
perception, why is it so apparently ingrained? Is it
necessary to the American psyche to perpetually exploit
and debase its victims in order to justify its history?
European explorers and invaders discovered an
inhabited land. Had it been pristine wilderness then, it
would possibly be so still, for neither the technology
nor the social organization of Europe in the 16th and
17th centuries had the capacity to maintain, of its own
resources, outpost colonies thousands of miles from
The Europeans were able to conquer America not
because of their military genius, or their religious
motivation, or their ambition, or their greed. They
conquered it by waging unpremeditated biological
«It is painful to advert to these things. But our
forefathers, though wise, pious, and sincere, were
nevertheless, in respect to Christian charity, under a
cloud; and, in history, truth should be held sacred, at
whatever cost . . . especially against the narrow and
futile patriotism, which, instead of pressing forward in
pursuit of truth, takes pride in walking backwards to
cover the slightest nakedness of our forefathers.»
—COL. THOMAS ASPINWALL
Their consensus answer was “1620.”
Obviously, my students’ heads have been filled with America’s origin myth, the story of the first Thanksgiving. Textbooks are among the retailers of this primal legend.
Starting the story of America’s settlement with the Pilgrims leaves out not only American Indians but also the Spanish. The first non-Native settlers in “the country we now know as the United States” were African slaves left in South Carolina in 1526 by Spaniards who abandoned a settlement attempt. In 1565 the Spanish massacred the French Protestants who had settled briefly at St.
Augustine, Florida, and established their own fort there. Between 1565 and 1568 Spaniards explored the Carolinas, building several forts that were then burned by the Indians.
Some later Spanish settlers were our first pilgrims, seeking regions
new to them to secure religious liberty: these were Spanish Jews, who settled in
New Mexico in the late 1500s.
Few Americans know that one-third of the United States, from San Francisco to Arkansas to Natchez to Florida, has been Spanish longer than it has been “American,” and that Hispanic Americans lived here before the first ancestor of the Daughters of the American Revolution ever
Moreover, Spanish culture left an indelible mark on the American West. The Spanish introduced horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and the basic elements of cowboy culture, including its vocabulary: mustang, bronco, rodeo, lariat, and so on.
Horses that escaped from the Spanish and propagated triggered the rapid flowering of a new culture among the Plains Indians. “How refreshing it would be,” wrote James Axtell, “to find a textbook that began on the West Coast before treating the traditional eastern colonies.”
Authors are WASP
Why don’t they? Perhaps because most textbook authors are WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). The forty-six authors of the eighteen texts I surveyed ranged from Bauer and Berkin to Williams and Wood, but only two were Spanish-surnamed: Linda Ann DeLeon, an author of Challenge of Freedom, and J. Klor de Alva, an author of The Americans.
Surely. it is no coincidence that the books by these last two offer by far the fullest accounts of early Spanish settlements in “what is now the United States,” including mention of the missions the Spanish set up from the Carolinas to the Gulf of Mexico and from San Diego to San Francisco.
Within our lifetimes, the school-age population of the United States is destined to become majority minority, with Hispanic, African, Asian, and Native Americans totalling more than 51 percent. At that point, probably after much hand-wringing and tooth-gnashing, the history books will give more attention to our Hispanic past—which they always should have done. Meanwhile, the Spanish are seen as intruders, while the British are seen as settlers.
Disease played the same crucial role
Henry Dobyns has put together a heartbreaking list of ninety-three epidemics
among Native Americans between 1520 and 1918. He has recorded forty-one eruptions of smallpox, four of bubonic plague, seventeen of measles and ten of influenza (both often deadly among Native Americans), and twenty-five of tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhus, cholera, and other diseases. Many of these outbreaks reached truly pandemic proportions, beginning in Florida or Mexico
Disease played the same crucial role in Mexico and Peru as it did in Massachusetts.
How did the Spanish manage to conquer what is now Mexico City?
“When the Christians were exhausted from war, God saw fit to send the Indians smallpox, and there was a great pestilence in the city.” When the Spanish marched into Tenochtitlan, there were so many bodies that they had to walk on them. Most of the Spaniards were immune to the disease, and that fact itself helped to crush Aztec morale.
The Europeans’ advantages in military and social technology might have enabled them to dominate the Americas, as they eventually dominated China, India, Indonesia, and Africa, but not to “settle” the hemisphere. For that, the plague was required. Thus, apart from the European (and African) invasion itself, the pestilence is surely the most important event in the history of America.
In their pious treatment of the Pilgrims, history textbooks introduce the archetype of American exceptionalism—the notion that the United States is different from—and better than—all other nations on the planet.
How is America exceptional? Well, we’re exceptionally good, for one thing.
To highlight that happy picture, textbooks underplay Jamestown and the sixteenth-century Spanish settlements in favor of Plymouth Rock as the rchetypal birthplace of the United States. Virginia, according to T. H. Breen,
“ill-served later historians in search of the mythic origins of American culture.”
The Pilgrims numbered only 35 of the 102
Bear in mind that the Pilgrims numbered only about 35 of the 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower; the rest were ordinary folk seeking their fortunes in the new Virginia colony. Historian George Willison has argued that the Pilgrim leaders, wanting to be far from Anglican control, never planned to settle in Virginia. They had debated the relative merits of Guiana, in South America,
versus the Massachusetts coast, and, according to Willison, they intended a hijacking.
Rumors of mutiny
Only one of all the textbooks I surveyed adheres to the hijacking possibility. “The New England landing came as a rude surprise for the bedraggled and tired [non-Pilgrim] majority on board the Mayflower,” says Land of Promise. “[They] had joined the expedition seeking economic opportunity in the Virginia tobacco plantations.” Obviously, these passengers were not happy at having been taken elsewhere, especially to a shore with no prior English settlement to join.
“Rumors of mutiny spread quickly.” Promise then ties this unrest to the Mayflower Compact, giving its readers a fresh interpretation of why the colonists adopted the agreement and why it was so democratic: “To avoid rebellion, the Pilgrim leaders made a remarkable concession to the other
colonists. They issued a call for every male on board, regardless of religion or economic status, to join in the creation of a ‘civil body politic.’ ” The compact achieved its purpose: the majority acquiesced.
Actually, the hijacking hypothesis does not show the Pilgrims in such a bad light. The compact provided a graceful solution to an awkward problem. Although hijacking and false representation doubtless were felonies then as now, the colony did survive with a lower death rate than Virginia, so no permanent harm was done. The whole story places the Pilgrims in a somewhat dishonorable
light, however, which may explain why only one textbook selects it. The “navigation error” story lacks plausibility: the one parameter of ocean travel that sailors could and did measure accurately in that era was latitude— distance north or south from the equator. The “storms” excuse is perhaps still less plausible, for if a storm blew them off course, when the weather cleared they could have turned southward again, sailing out to sea to bypass any shoals. They had plenty of food and beer, after all. But storms and pilot error leave the Pilgrims pure of heart, which may explain why most textbooks choose one of the two.
But textbook authors clearly want to package the Pilgrims as a pious and moral band who laid the antecedents of our democratic traditions. Nowhere is this motive more embarrassingly obvious than in John Garraty’s American History. “So far as any record shows, this was the first time in human history that a group of people consciously created a government where none had existed
before.” Here Garraty paraphrases a Forefathers’ Day speech, delivered in Plymouth in 1802, in which John Adams celebrated “the only instance in human history of that positive, original social compact.” George Willison has dryly noted that Adams was “blinking several salient facts—above all, the circumstances that prompted the compact, which was plainly an instrument of minority rule.”
Of course, Garraty’s paraphrase also exposes his ignorance of the Republic of Iceland, the Iroquois Confederacy, and countless other polities antedating 1620. Such an account simply invites students to become ethnocentric.
To highlight that happy picture, textbooks underplay Jamestown and the sixteenth-century Spanish settlements in favor of Plymouth Rock as the archetypal birthplace of the United States. Virginia, according to T. H. Breen, “ill-served later historians in search of the mythic origins of American culture.”
Historians could hardly tout Virginia as moral in intent, for, in the words of the first history of Virginia written by a Virginian: “The chief Design of all Parties concern’d was to fetch away the Treasure from thence, aiming more at sudden Gain, than to form any regular Colony.”
The Virginians’ relations with American Indians were particularly unsavory: in contrast to Squanto, a volunteer, the English in Virginia took Indian prisoners and forced them to teach colonists how to farm.
Dropped dead of poison
In 1623 the English indulged in the first use of chemical warfare in the colonies when negotiating a treaty with tribes near the Potomac River, headed by Chiskiack. The English offered a toast “symbolizing eternal friendship,” whereupon the chief, his family, advisors, and two hundred
followers dropped dead of poison.
Besides, the early Virginians engaged in bickering, sloth, even cannibalism. They spent their early days digging random holes in the ground, haplessly looking for gold instead of planting crops. Soon they were starving and digging up putrid Native corpses to eat or renting themselves out to American Indian families as servants—hardly the heroic founders that a great nation requires.
The Pilgrims as our founders
As a result, and owing also to Thanksgiving, of course, students are much more likely to remember the Pilgrims as our founders. They are then embarrassed when I remind them of Virginia and the Spanish, for when prompted, students do recall having heard of both.
“Their profit” was the primary reason most Mayflower colonists made the trip. As Robert Moore has pointed out, “Textbooks neglect to analyze the profit motive underlying much of our history.”
Profit, too, came from American Indians, by way of the fur trade, without which Plymouth would never have paid for itself. Hobomok helped Plymouth set up fur-trading posts at the mouth of the
Penobscot and Kennebec rivers in Maine; in Aptucxet, Massachusetts; and in Windsor, Connecticut.
Europeans had neither the skill nor the desire to “goboldly where none dared go before.” They went to the Indians.
Marginalizes Native Americans
The civil ritual we practice marginalizes Native Americans. Our archetypal image of the first Thanksgiving portrays the groaning boards in the woods, with the Pilgrims in their starched Sunday best next to their almost naked Indian guests. As a holiday greeting card puts it, “I is for the Indians we invited to share our food.” The silliness of all this reaches its zenith in the handouts that
schoolchildren have carried home for decades, complete with captions such as, “They served pumpkins and turkeys and corn and squash. The Indians had never seen such a feast!”
When Native American novelist Michael Dorris’s son brought home this “information” from his New Hampshire elementary school, Dorris pointed out that “the Pilgrims had literally never seen ‘such a feast,’ since all foods mentioned are exclusively indigenous to the Americas and had been provided by [or with the aid of] the local tribe.”
This notion that “We”
This notion that “we” advanced peoples provided for the Natives, exactly the converse of the truth, is not benign. It reemerges time and again in our history to complicate race relations. For example, we are told that white plantation owners furnished food and medical care for their slaves, yet every shred of food, shelter, and clothing on the plantations was raised, built, woven, or paid for by black labor.
Today Americans believe as part of our political understanding of the world that we are the most generous nation on earth in terms of foreign aid, overlooking the fact that the net dollar flow from almost every Third World nation runs toward the United States.
The ideological meaning
The ideological meaning American history has ascribed to Thanksgiving compounds the embarrassment. The Thanksgiving legend makes Americans ethnocentric. After all, if our culture has God on its side, why should we consider other cultures seriously? This ethnocentrism intensified in the middle of the last century. In Race and Manifest Destiny, Reginald Horsman has shown how the idea of “God on our side” was used to legitimize the open expression of Anglo-Saxon superiority vis-à-vis Mexicans, Native Americans, peoples of the Pacific, Jews, and even Catholics. Today, when textbooks promote this ethnocentrism with their Pilgrim stories, they leave students less able to learn from and deal with people from other cultures.
Frank James and the Wampanoags
On occasion, we pay a more direct cost: censorship. In 1970, for example, the Massachusetts Department of Commerce asked the Wampanoags to select a speaker to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing. Frank James “was selected, but first he had to show a copy of his speech to the white people in charge of the ceremony. When they saw what he had written, they would not allow him to read it.”
James had written:
Today is a time of celebrating for you . . . but it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People. . . . The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors, and stolen their corn, wheat, and beans. . . . Massasoit, the great leader of the Wampanoag, knew these facts; yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers . . . little knowing that . . . before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoags . . . and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them. . . . Although our way of life is almost gone and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts. . . . What has happened cannot be changed, but today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important.
What the Massachusetts Department of Commerce censored was not some incendiary falsehood but historical truth. Nothing James would have said, had he been allowed to speak, was false, excepting the word wheat.
Our textbooks omit
Most of our textbooks also omit the facts about grave robbing, Indian enslavement, and so
on, even though they were common knowledge in colonial New England. Thus our popular history of the Pilgrims has not been a process of gaining perspective but of deliberate forgetting. Instead of these important facts, textbooks supply the feel-good minutiae of Squanto’s helpfulness, his name, the fish in the cornhills, sometimes even the menu and the number of American Indians who
attended the prototypical first Thanksgiving.
Book: -Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (James Loewen)