American History Textbooks For Revolting Patriots

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Dr Schmahl PHD

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Jul 7, 2013
Sundays With The Christianists: American History Textbooks For Revolting Patriots

Fresh on the heels of America’s Bestest Holiday, it’s time for another delightful visit to the world of Christianist textbooks, and as it turns out, they’re talkin’ about a Revolution, too. As we’ve noted in some of our earlier visits to wingnut history books, the editors of these books tend to be fairly straightforward when it comes to military history, and the American Revolution is no different. Both of our samples, the 8th grade America: Land I Love (A Beka Book, 1994) and the 11th-12th grade U.S. History For Christian Schools (Bob Jones University Press, 2001), present the conflicts and events of the period in terms that wouldn’t be out of place in a secular textbook — there’s no idiocy about God helping out the colonial forces with a bunch of “miracles,” for instance. It’s as if once the editors have some actual war-making to talk about, they feel free to set aside the Culture War that’s at the heart of the books’ agenda.

Still, there are subtle differences. Where a secular text might note that colonial anti-Catholic paranoia was stoked by the 1774 Quebec Act, which established Catholicism as the province’s official religion, Land I Love suggests that Colonial propagandists had it right:
For years, colonists had feared that an Anglican bishop might be sent to America to dictate their religious affairs, but now the Quebec Act brought about an even worse fear for the future of religious liberty — the fear of being ruled by the pope.
Land I Love also puts a Reagan-era spin on colonial gripes over taxation, suggesting that Prime Minister William Pitt sought to pursue a 1760s version of supply-side economics (he “planned to lift trade restrictions on the colonies to boost private enterprise and thus increase the amount of tax money sent to Britain”) while Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend was some kind of 18th century Ted Kennedy who “believed that the colonies should pay what he considered their ‘fair share’ of taxes” to the Crown. Since both texts date from the days before America had to be taken back from the Kenyan Usurper, the Boston Tea Party is mentioned only as an anti-British act, and both texts are careful to note that the colonists felt just awful about destroying private property, but they had to in order to make their point.



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