Independence Day and American History

by | Jul 4, 2003 | History

On this, our great national holiday, let us rededicate "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to the greatness of America.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we should be reminded of one sobering fact: our young people know very little of the history that made this country great. On a recent national history test, 57 percent of high school seniors flunked even a basic knowledge of American history.

What our students don’t know, however, is not as bad as what they do know. History as it is taught in our schools today is driven by one theme: by a hatred of America and its ideals. It is common these days for students to be told, for instance, that the Founding Fathers were racist, sexist, “classist,” “homophobic,” Euro-centric bigots.

By contrast, there was a time, not too long ago, when students were required to study the great events, the magnanimous statesmen, the brave soldiers, the brilliant inventors, and the ingenious industrialists of American history. There was a time when American students knew in intimate detail the heroic story of the American Revolution and the tragedy of the Civil War.

American children once learned about honesty from George Washington, justice from Thomas Jefferson, integrity from John Adams, independence from Daniel Boone, oratory from Daniel Webster, ingenuity from Thomas Edison, perseverance from the Wright Brothers, and courage from Sergeant York. They memorized and learned the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. American history was taught as a grand story of heroic accomplishment on an epic scale. The history of America was the history of freedom.

On this, our great national holiday, let us rededicate “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to the greatness of America.

C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He writes at the The Redneck Intellectual.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Related articles

On July 4th: Love America or Lose Her

On July 4th: Love America or Lose Her

Patriotism is more than a sentiment. It is a necessity. To keep what history has presented to us, Americans must either love it or lose it. Balkanize America and you risk becoming the Balkans.

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest