The major problem with how history is taught today is that school teachers tend to embellish what really happened. Furthermore, they selectively choose who is the “good guy” and “bad guys” of history.
For example, the textbooks of these days inaccurately portray the founders, Andrew Jackson, conflict with Native Americans, Lincoln, slavery, MLK, etc. They fail to acknowledge that the Native Americans committed atrocities just like the European Settlers (read “The Wild Frontier”). Andrew Jackson and the Native Americans is another subject the textbooks fail to provide another perspective on, Jackson actually adopted a Native American into his family and some, such as liberal historian Robert Remini, would argue that the Indian Removal Act was about accommodating the Natives to preserve their heritage and culture rather than losing it in assimilation. Trail Tears was actually carried out by Van Buren, and a lot of people do not know this.
Another example is with slavery is that treatment varied from owner to owner, meaning some were treated more harshly than others, and there were some places where slaves actually got paid for working on other slave owners land in which they could purchase their freedom. Also, slavery is a universal problem, and that you had blacks that owned black slaves in this country. The majority will admit slavery is morally wrong and should be illegal, but textbooks ignore certain facts and make it seem worse than what is was. The Civil War is portrayed as the war to end slavery but if you read Lincoln’s works he had no intention of ending it at first, and only pushed the Emancipation Proclamation for political reasons after Gettysburg to keep France and England from joining the Confederacy. Lincoln by the way was also sending blacks back to Africa through these colonization projects.
MLK was a documented plagiarist, but you do not read any criticisms of him in the textbook, sure he may have brought people together in the Civil Rights movement and pushed for equality, but his personal life and true character should be scrutinize just like how the founders are. I believe that MLK just like the founders and everyone else had his flaws.
Here is an example of MLK’s flaws:
“He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it [the funeral],” Kennedy said.
Could you imagine anyone else showing up to a funeral drunk and making fun of the recent deceased’s religion?
MLK was a communist, womanizer, plagiarist, etc. Yet the media and school teachers portray him as being a saint and embellish who he really was when he was anything but. MLK like all historical figures was flawed.
JFK is another perfect example of how the media can cover up the truth about a president. He had a teen mistress who is was having a sexual affair with.
People need to question everything rather than just accept whatever the media tells them too.
History textbooks should address the different sides, and let students do their own research to formulate their own opinion, and there is nothing wrong with giving a more genuine look at significant historical events and people. You learn so much in history by reading outside the textbook and visiting actual historical sites.