Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Introduction to U.S. History Uncensored

Expand Messages
  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Introduction to U.S. History Uncensored: What
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2006
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,
      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com

      Introduction to U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School
      Textbook Didn't Tell You
      By Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.
      Online Journal Guest Writer
      Nov 2, 2006

      American inventor and entrepreneur Henry Ford is famous not only for
      his astounding success in making the automobile available to nearly
      every American family in the 1920s, but also for his famous
      quote: "History is bunk." Many historians, offended by Ford's abrupt
      dismissal of the subject, defensively retort that history is not
      bunk and set out to prove their "case" regarding the relevance and
      significance of the study of history.

      The reader may be surprised to learn that on one level, I agree with
      Ford. A few years ago while browsing the titles in the history
      section of my local bookstore, my eyes fell upon James Loewen's Lies
      My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got
      Wrong. Instantaneously, I snatched the book from the shelf and began
      frantically shuffling through its pages. Presently, I realized that
      Loewen had elucidated the exasperation of countless teachers of
      American history, and I could barely wait to get the book home where
      I could pore over his words without interruption. A sociologist by
      trade, Loewen articulates brilliantly the effects upon a society
      when its citizens are ignorant of their history and shines an almost
      blinding light on some of the most sacrosanct American historical
      legends.

      By and large, Americans do not consider themselves ignorant of their
      history. Yet, most are still under the influence of grammar school
      indoctrination in the "discovery" of America by Columbus and the
      myth of George Washington's confession to his father that he,
      indeed, could not tell a lie and did, in fact, cut down the cherry
      tree. Sadly, in the technologically-obsessed twenty-first century,
      any knowledge of history beyond these mythical snippets is
      considered "onerous" or simply "extraneous" to the "real" world.

      Overwhelmingly, what I hear from my college history students is that
      high school history was boring, irrelevant, and largely taught to
      them by teachers who had little or no passion for the subject. The
      classic situation is the high school coach who is hired to supervise
      athletic programs on the condition that he/she teaches a designated
      number of social studies courses of which history usually comprises
      the majority.

      In my own experience, high school history was taught by male coaches
      who authoritatively lectured about U.S. history as a parent would a
      child, then barked commands, like: "All right, everybody be quiet
      and write the answers to the questions on page 29." While we
      submissively complied, the coach sat at his desk, clipboard and
      pencil in hand, diagramming football plays, resentfully offering
      obligatory answers to any questions we might ask.

      Nevertheless, some of us, thanks to stimulating college instructors,
      learned to love history. We studied the subject in the context of
      the social upheaval and cultural transformation of the 1960s
      and '70s. Moreover, in awe-stricken wonder at the relevance of
      history to our lives and our world, we vowed that our teaching of it
      would be passionate, vital, and illuminating. We could not wait to
      incite a similar voracity for historical knowledge in our students.

      So upon all of the above, I reflect when I hear Henry Ford's
      proclamation that history is bunk. I believe that rather than simply
      defending against Ford's comment, the diligent historian must
      analyze it more deeply. First, we must ask ourselves what would
      cause someone to proclaim that history is bunk? What more should we
      know about Ford that might shed light on his dismissal of history?
      Is it not extraordinarily relevant to understand that Ford was
      passionately anti-Semitic and an ardent admirer of Hitler? In fact,
      when Hitler penned his infamous Mein Kampf, a portrait of Ford
      rested on his writing desk.

      What might happen if this detail were included in conventional
      history texts? Might it not lead to discussion of the reality that
      Ford was only one of hundreds of corporate tycoons during the 1930s
      who admired Hitler and helped finance his rise to power? And if Ford
      was only one, who were the others? Why did they support Hitler? How
      did they become admirers of the most treacherous butcher in modern
      history? And what happened to their support for Hitler during World
      War II and after? Does their identification with his cause have
      anything to do with the turn of events following World War II or
      even the unfolding of events in the early twenty-first century? Are
      there implications that connect with current events such as the fact
      that at this writing, the sitting American president's grandfather,
      Prescott Bush, a contemporary of Ford, was one of those numerous
      corporate financiers of Hitler?

      These are questions that historians are obligated to ask, and I do,
      and in History Uncensored, I offer answers to those questions -- or
      at least plausible explanations which may not be "right" in the
      conventional sense, but which provide an alternative not found
      in "official" versions of American history. This work is
      unequivocally controversial, and it is meant to be, but as one of my
      students remarked after a lively discussion of its contents: "We may
      not agree with you or this curriculum, but we will never forget this
      course." For me, the impact of the questions raised is far more
      momentous than my students' or readers' agreement with my answers.

      At the opposite end of the spectrum from Henry Ford is the
      philosopher, George Santayana, whose famous quote is ubiquitous in
      history books and holocaust museums: "Those who cannot remember the
      past are condemned to repeat it." Unfortunately, some students use
      this quote to attempt to validate the irrelevance of studying
      history. The logic goes something like: "Well, the only thing I
      learn from history is that people learn nothing from history." At
      that point, I am quick to challenge the student to tell me what
      he/she personally has learned from history. Almost always, the
      student discloses that she has learned a great deal from history but
      also confesses that it feels meaningless if the rest of society does
      not also learn similar lessons. At that point, I hasten to remind
      the student that one cannot compel society to learn from history,
      but one can learn one's own lessons from history, and since society
      is comprised of individuals, what each person learns from history
      has the potential to make an enormous difference in society.

      I personally feel great empathy with the student who argues in this
      manner because he is articulating frustration with a society that
      does not value historical knowledge. College and university budgets
      incessantly decrease funds for humanities and social sciences while
      increasing them for engineering and technological programs. Academia
      appears to be screaming loudly that only the present and future
      matter. Whenever a tragic event occurs nationally, one of the most
      telling and frequently repeated mantras is "we want to put this
      behind us," thereby, revealing our collective belief in the
      irrelevance of the past -- a place where dark, painful events are
      buried, never to be unearthed and examined for their meaning and
      relevance.

      In my opinion, the relegating of history to an antiquated closet of
      insignificance is not only intellectually unsound but fundamentally
      dangerous. A people ignorant of their own history are easily
      deceived and exploited. For example, our Founding Fathers wrote and
      spoke profusely of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment concept of
      inalienable rights. It permeates our Declaration of Independence and
      Constitution. For them, the term was synonymous with human rights
      held by each individual by virtue of nothing more than his/her
      existence. That is, one possesses inalienable rights because one
      breathes air and walks on the earth. Currently, however, members of
      the Bush administration, including former Homeland Security chief
      Tom Ridge and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, argue that
      government bestows the rights guaranteed in the Constitution upon
      its citizens.

      In almost every history class I teach, I ask students to explain the
      origin of their rights as American citizens. Typically, most assume
      that their rights are "given" to them by their government. It is a
      rare student who has ever considered that if the government
      can "give" these rights, the government can also take them away. Few
      traditional history textbooks clarify the concept of inalienable
      rights which has contributed, in my opinion, to several generations
      of Americans who assume that the rights they daily enjoy and take
      for granted are somehow bestowed by their nation's leaders.

      It is important to understand that history textbooks are the
      products of corporate media, and corporate media, whether it be CNN,
      the New York Times, or Bedford St. Martins Publishers is much more
      concerned with selling a product than agonizing over accuracy. This
      is why hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans, no
      longer acquire their daily news from mainstream sources but rely on
      alternative sources on the Internet to inform them of local,
      national, and world events.

      Moreover, as Loewen explains in Lies My Teacher Told Me, public
      school systems are not interested in making waves in terms of
      questioning the accuracy of history textbooks. Particularly in an
      era of backlash against the teaching of the theory of evolution or
      sex education, educators are loath to scrutinize American history
      textbooks which teach, as virtually all traditional ones do, that
      the United States of America is the most tolerant, moral, non-
      aggressive, and benevolent nation on earth. Insufficient detail, if
      any, is offered regarding Native American genocide by European
      settlers or the rabid racism that motivated them from the moment
      they set foot on the continent. Few textbooks analyze the
      persecution of labor and social justice movements by the wealthy and
      powerful in America, or American imperialism which came to fruition
      in the Spanish-American War, steadily burgeoning throughout the
      twentieth century and which in the current moment, constitutes the
      fundamental lynchpin of international relations.

      To analyze these issues in depth, which most certainly results in
      learning that the history of the United States contains a very dark,
      as well as lighter, past is now considered disloyal, unpatriotic,
      and earns the analyst the label of "terrorist" or "enemy combatant."
      In response to these accusations, the dedicated historian must
      always ask: How did this happen? How did we arrive at such a state
      of affairs in our history? How is it that we are increasingly kept
      ignorant of the dark side of American history and even discouraged
      from studying our history at all?

      History Uncensored asks these questions and offers responses to them
      evoked by historical facts. Repeatedly, it presents historical
      events which are rarely discussed in traditional textbooks and asks
      the reader to think critically about them. I have taken great pains
      to document the information presented in it so that the reader may
      investigate the information in order to validate its historical
      accuracy and also research it further if inclined to do so.

      Unquestionably, what is presented is unsettling, if not blatantly
      disturbing, and that is my direct intent. I have been and will
      continue to be accused of hating America and lacking gratitude for
      the benefits of being born in this nation. To this accusation I can
      only call on the wisdom of the great American writer Mark Twain who
      stated, "We should be loyal to our country at all times and to our
      government when it deserves it." As I adamantly declare to my
      students of U.S. history, I love my country dearly, but I am now
      certain that my government has been and is in the process of
      destroying it. Americans who genuinely revere their national
      heritage do not blindly deify it, but rather, in the words of
      another great American, the former slave, Frederick Douglass,
      realize that "We should be lovers of our country who rebuke and do
      not excuse its sins.

      Numerous former officials of the U.S. government have resoundingly
      criticized it within the past five years, not the least of whom was
      former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who, in March
      2006, stated that the United States is edging ever closer to
      becoming a dictatorship. She pointed to the incessant attacks on the
      U.S. judiciary by the right wing of the Republican Party which
      appointed her to the high court in the 1980s. "Statutes and
      constitutions do not protect judicial independence -- people do,"
      O'Connor emphasized in her scathing Georgetown University speech. [1]

      Founding Father and second President of the United States, John
      Adams, wrote that "the historian must have no country." Adams meant
      that we must be so committed to discovering the truth that history
      reveals, painful as it may be, that we put aside nationalistic
      prejudice and apply the scalpel of historical research. By doing so,
      we help heal, not harm, the nation we revere. If we insist
      on "having a country" when studying history, such healing cannot
      occur.

      Perhaps the most momentous historical event of the twenty-first
      century thus far was the fraudulent selection of George W. Bush. as
      president of the United States in 2000. This abstract addresses the
      event and offers overwhelming evidence of fraud and criminal
      behavior in the 2000 election. The reader may immediately wonder why
      I choose to label the 2000 election more momentous than the attacks
      of September 11, 2001. My answer is that I do not consider the two
      events to be unrelated. The connection is explained more fully near
      the end of the book, but the significance of both events is that,
      taken together, they launched a coup d'etat in the United States,
      which dramatically accelerated America's trajectory toward empire,
      diverging with dizzying velocity away from its Founders' original
      intent, a democratic republic whose purpose was to provide for the
      general welfare of its citizens. What could be more despicable?

      For the analytical historian, the only appropriate response is to
      diligently explore the process of the nation's demise from the
      signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 to the termination of that
      experiment in November 2000. Beginning with the year 1865, that is
      precisely what History Uncensored intends to do.

      I emphasize that the devolution from republic to empire has been a
      process and not an event. Throughout recent American history,
      particularly the history of the twentieth century, certain markers
      or "tipping points" have signaled the collapse of the Founding
      Fathers' experiment. One date in particular looms larger than life
      for the attentive student of history. That is 1947 when the National
      Security Act was signed into law creating the Central Intelligence
      Agency and a black budget, which absolved the Agency from all
      accountability to Congress or the American people regarding its
      activities and expenditures. During the Reagan administration of the
      1980s, other government agencies were allowed to create black
      budgets, which opened the door for unprecedented corruption in the
      federal government. Yet another marker: the assassinations of John
      F. and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. And then the
      consummation of empire: the 2000 elections and September 11, 2001.

      I contend that if one does not understand that the United States of
      America in 2006 is an empire, one can understand neither its history
      nor its future. To meticulously analyze its history, which
      traditional textbooks do not do, is to witness that empire taking
      shape. In fact, like the correct placing of scattered fragments of a
      puzzle, History Uncensored endeavors to put the puzzle together and
      construct a "map" which not only connects past and present events,
      but causes them to make perfect sense.

      One imperative I offer the reader before beginning the journey
      through the book is: Please remove rose-colored glasses. Be willing
      to entertain new definitions of loyalty, patriotism, and national
      pride. What you will learn there is not pleasant, nor is it
      unparalleled. My intention is not to portray the United States as
      uniquely evil. Nor do I wish to portray other modern regimes as
      exclusively honorable. Unquestionably, Stalin of the Soviet Union
      and Chairman Mao of China behaved despicably and murdered millions
      of people in the name of the communist cause. Have other nations
      behaved as badly or worse than the United States? Absolutely. But I
      do not live in those nations; I live in the United States. My
      obligation, indeed my duty as an American citizen, according to the
      Constitution, is to dissent when I see its principles of liberty
      violated. For as Jefferson wrote, "Dissent is the highest form of
      patriotism." More recently a similar maxim has become prominent
      among activists in American society: "Dissent protects democracy."

      Perhaps what Americans most need to understand is that their nation
      is not "special." We have been taught to mouth platitudes such
      as "America is the greatest country in the world" or "people all
      over the world sacrifice everything they have, including their lives
      to come here." From the days of the Puritans who viewed the New
      World as "a city set on a hill" or "a new Jerusalem" or "a light
      unto the world," Americans have been enculturated to believe that
      other countries have dictatorships, but we don't; that other
      countries are imperialistic, but we aren't; that other countries
      have corrupt elections, but we don't; that other countries torture
      and maim prisoners of war or their own citizens, but we don't; that
      other countries perform lethal scientific experiments on their own
      citizens, but we don't; that other countries would incite and
      conduct wars for natural resources or commercial markets abroad, but
      we don't.

      In my own personal history, I have ancestors who fought in the
      American Revolution, some who were conductors for the Underground
      Railroad, and others who were members of the Ku Klux Klan. I wish
      that I could eliminate the reality of the latter, but I cannot.
      History, like the individuals who make it, is remarkably
      complicated. It contains the good, the bad, the ugly, the
      indifferent, and everything in between. I passionately contend that
      as Americans we must revere that in our history which is
      extraordinary, honorable, praiseworthy, and yes, unique, yet at the
      same time, we must be willing to comprehend the long and tragic
      journey away from those incipient virtues to the depraved ground on
      which we now stand.

      Some readers will undoubtedly label this work "conspiracy theory" --
      an accusation which I no longer take seriously given the fact that
      conspiracies do happen every day of our lives and that
      the "conspiracy theory" allegation is so unremittingly utilized as
      an attempt to marginalize arguments which question or
      confront "official history." As investigative journalist, Mike
      Ruppert is fond of saying, "I don't deal in conspiracy theory; I
      deal in conspiracy fact." A former Los Angeles Police Department
      Narcotics Investigator, Ruppert has become known to many as
      an "information cop," a term which refers to law enforcement
      investigative procedures, where pieces of evidence are gathered and
      configured, so that when the configuration is sufficiently
      indicative of who might have committed the crime, the evidence is
      presented to a district attorney or a grand jury. An information cop
      relates similarly to information. I encourage the reader of History
      Uncensored to become his/her own information cop and carefully
      examine the pieces of evidence there, configure them, or as we
      say, "connect the dots," and draw one's own conclusions.

      Indeed, I have selectively included certain historical events and
      omitted others. I have done so because like any other historian, I
      have an opinion, and unlike some historians, I see history "going
      somewhere," and where it appears to be going is more than a little
      disturbing to me. Present, past, and future are inextricably
      connected and, in my worldview, constantly influence each other. I
      firmly believe that we cannot understand current issues of global
      climate change, the end of the age of hydrocarbon energy, the events
      of September 11, 2001, the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
      globalist economy which is in the process of obliterating national
      economies, including our own, the draconian evisceration of the Bill
      of Rights of the Constitution of the United States, the
      proliferation of poverty, prisons, and people without health care,
      to mention only a few national and planetary perils, unless we
      incisively examine the history of our nation, particular from the
      end of the Civil War to the present moment.

      History Uncensored is meant to supplement, not replace, any
      textbooks or readings required by the institutions in which it is
      being utilized. The reader may be astonished at what is omitted in
      this work, but please bear in mind that my intention was not to
      write a history textbook covering every historical event from 1865
      to the present, but to insert events that are typically excluded
      from traditional textbooks. For example, I have written little about
      the actual events of World War II, but I offer details regarding the
      Pearl Harbor attacks, the triggering event of America's involvement
      in the war, and the role of the United States in the world in the
      aftermath of the war and the war's effect on the U.S. domestically.
      For this reason, I have chosen to refer to the work as a curriculum
      abstract.

      Whether one is a student in a formal class of U.S. history from 1865
      to the present, whether one is a history teacher, a lover of
      history, or an activist, U.S. History Uncensored is a fascinating
      and provocative story of how America became the nation it is today,
      told from a perspective one is almost guaranteed not to find in
      traditional history textbooks. In other words, this is a history
      class the reader will not fall asleep in.

      Reference

      1. Dictatorship is the danger, The Guardian Unlimited, March 13,
      2006.

      Carolyn Baker, adjunct professor of history and Managing Editor of
      From The Wilderness Publications, hosts her own website at
      www.carolynbaker.org where the book can be purchased and where she
      can be contacted.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.