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I was watching Glenn Beck show on Fox yesterday and once again he referenced how public school students are learning an abridged version of history. This time he was referring to the founding fathers George Washington, Samuel Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.
He said students are only told that George Washington was a slave owner, Samuel Adams was a religious zealot, and Benjamin Franklin was a womanizer. He further implied that the contributions made by these figures to found this country are either omitted or downplayed.
Off the top of my head, here is a very short summary of what I learned about each of these figures in high school.
George Washington: Rose through the military ranks during the French/Indian war, General of the Revolutionary Army, held the army together despite the ineffective fiscal power of the Articles of Confederation, crossed the Delaware, religious Anglican, first President of the U.S., warned against a two party system, favored separation of church and state, freemason.
Samuel Adams: Devout puritan did not favor separation of church and state, lead role in the Boston Tea Party, was originally against ratifying the constitution until the Bill of Rights was added, attended first and second continental congress.
Benjamin Franklin: Inventor, Entreapneur, Atheist/Agnostic, funded the building of churches and donated a lot of charity, womanizer, flew a kite, wrote almanacs, ambassador to France.
Of course these summaries are greatly abridged to save time and space, but I remember learning both the faults and strengths of historic figures. Glenn Beck seems to want to just focus on the strengths of these figures and omit their flaws, but that is abridging history because flaws contribute to the figures influence just as much as their strengths do. Beck claims we are at one extreme and wants to go to the other, when in fact I feel we are right in the middle, where we should be.
Anyone else have thoughts on this?