Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Maybe If She'd Taken AP US History...

Here is part of the offending post:

Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today! Shouldn't our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH Framework support or denigrate that position?

From this, we see exactly the sort of problems that a rigorous history course that develops critical thinking skills should address.

First, we see the simplistic use of "we".  What do you mean "we", white man?  "We" didn't voluntarily do jackshit.  "We" fought each other tooth and nail for four years.  When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, desertions increased (especially among draftees), because Northerners weren't necessarily interested in dying for slaves.  The debate over the 13th Amendment - capably captured in Lincoln - shows just involuntary the ending of slavery was.

We do teach the angry, acrimonious debate over slavery.  We examine Frederick Douglass and Roger Taney, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, because it is in examining these differences that we understand the true issues that undergird all the arguments about slavery.

And once those slaves were free, we argued incessantly - for a hundred years - over what we would allow freedom to mean for African Americans.  We warped and perverted the 14th Amendment in order to revivify the primacy of the white race.  We gave the Freedman a sky for a roof and a shred of ignored law for a coat.  And we refashioned chains from debt peonage, chains that ensnared not a few poor whites, as well.

To deny that is to deny the truth of our history.  Perhaps Ms. Mazanec should take AP US?

At least the students in Colorado seem to understand this, even if the "adults" do not.

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