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“Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

“Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

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Page 1: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

“Lies My Teacher Told Me”Chapter Six-

John Brown and Abraham Lincoln

The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Page 2: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

The Invisibility of Anti-Racism

• “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”- Jefferson

Ordinary men that stood up and fought to protect those words are often invisible in our history textbooks.

John Brown and Abraham Lincoln are remembered as a crazy person and honest Abe

Their struggles for equality are either down-played or never portrayed

Page 3: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Loewen’s Argument on How Brown is Represented in Text

Brown is only mentioned in relationship to Pottawatomie, Kansas and Harpers Ferry.

Brown’s action in Pottawatomie is portrayed as retaliation, revenge and retribution.

History textbook presents Brown as “almost certainly insane, mentally ill, probably of unsound mind, and crackbrained.”

There is no sympathy for him nor is there anything that explain why brown is a hero to so many slaves and abolitionists

Page 4: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 5: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Loewen’s view on Brown insanity• “No one who knew Brown thought him

crazy.”• After Brown’s capture, Governor Wise of

Virginia called Brown “ a man of clear head…quick and clear perception.”

• “We must recognize that the insanity with which historians have charged John Brown was never psychological. It was ideological.

Page 6: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 7: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Brown’s Death • “These men, in teaching us how to die,

have at the same time taught us how to live.”

• “Brown’s Willingness to go to the gallows for what he thought was right had a moral force of its own”

• Textbooks neglect to mention the significant of his death and the reaction

Page 8: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 9: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Brown and his religion

• Brown is a religious man and well read in Bible, However, textbooks do not credit him with it and blame his action as a God’s command.

• “Believing himself commanded by God to free the slaves, Brown came up with a scheme...”

• Brown thought deeply about the moral meaning of Christianity and decided that slavery was incompatible with it. Textbooks do not mention any part of his moral reasoning

Page 10: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 11: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Our research on Brown

• Insane?• Isolated?

– Contact with other Abolistionists– His 20 men

• Religion as a moral tool– Martyr– Philosophy

• 2 mentions in textbooks– Patawatomie vs. Osawatomie– Harper’s Ferry

• Support of slaves

Page 12: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 13: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Election of 1860One textbook talks about calculated attack vs. snapping and Brown’s effect on making slavery a national issue that couldn’t be ignored.

“Enigma of John Brown”, America Past to Present, 7th edition

Page 14: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 15: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Holt’s Call to Freedom

“Brown delivered a memorable speech. “It is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty... I believe that to have interfered... in behalf of His despised poor was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood... with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments; so let it be done!”

Page 16: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Loewen’s argument on How Lincoln is represented in Text

• No textbook mention Lincoln’s thundering summation of what his debates with Douglas were really about: right and wrong of slavery.

• Textbooks separate Lincoln from undue idealism about slavery. They only emphasize that he saved the Union

• Disconnected Lincoln and the Civil War from the struggle for equality

Page 17: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 18: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Emancipation Proclamation

• Textbooks present the view that Lincoln did it to gain international support for the Union

• Textbooks suppress the possibility that Lincoln acted at least in part because he thought it was right.

• Avoid the question of what is right and what is wrong

Page 19: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 20: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Lincoln’s Speech

• The Gettysburg Address is one the most important speech for Lincoln as he reminded the nation that they were in a war to fight for equality, freedom and The rights of all people.

• “Five books do not even mention the speech…”

• Most textbooks skip the significant of the speech

Page 21: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks
Page 22: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Downplay of Slavery as the Central Ideology of Civil War

• White Southerners founded the Confederacy on the ideology of white supremacy

• Throughout the war, “The protection of slavery had been and still remained the central core of Confederate purpose.”

• Textbooks downplay all this, probably because they do not want to offend white Southerners today.

Page 23: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Our research on Lincoln• Moderate on slavery?

– “rock solid antislavery beliefs” pg 183 leowin

• Keeping the Union together– Strategy for winning the war– Crittenden Compromise Rejected

• Attitudes on race and slavery• “The real issue is between men who think slavery is

wrong and those who do not think it wrong.” End of the L-D debate, The American Republic to 1877

• Assassination– Conspiracy– Booth more well known

Page 24: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Contradiction in Ideology• Ideological confusion vs. ideological strength

– Dred Scot contradicts popular sovereignty• Holt, L-D debates

• Emancipation Proclamation– Strategy to win vs. belief in what’s right– Effect on border states– “save with not freeing, for all, or some.”

• Three out five mentioned this quote• Not Lincoln’s personal beliefs

• Confederacy– States rights vs. white supremacy– Racist attitudes diminished in North by Black soldiers– Desertions

Page 25: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Confederate ideals

– Bad morale– States rights vs. white supremacy– Racist attitudes were diminishing

• Black soldiers• Democratic failure in 1864• “Happy slaves would never revolt.” Pg 193

Page 26: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Emancipation Proclamation

• Presented as a strategy to win vs. Lincoln’s belief in what’s right– Effect on border states

• Absentee ballots in MA

– Horace Greely letter• Three out five mentioned this quote• Not Lincoln’s personal beliefs

Page 27: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Reconstruction

• Carpetbaggers– “…were northerners who came south to take

advantage of the economic situations of the time.” American Republic to 1877

– Even positive depictions are pictures of epicted white schoolteachers. In Holt

• Scalawags– .25 to .33 was Republican in South, Leowin– Two books only give definition– Political and moral reasons for being

Republican

Page 28: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Even positive depictions can be problematic

Page 29: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

Scalawags

– Complex political and moral reasons for being Republican

• Miss. Gov. James Alcorn was a former Whig, Holt

– In Creating America, neither term is even mentioned.

Page 30: “Lies My Teacher Told Me” Chapter Six- John Brown and Abraham Lincoln The Invisibility of Anti-Racism in American History Textbooks

The Ku Klux Klan

• Highly effective terrorists

• Becoming shorthand for the failure of Reconstruction