Two Harvard University researchers announced Friday that they have found a second parchment manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence in a tiny records office in southern England. bostonglobe.com
This news gives me a bit of a thrill. History is fascinating and important. Sometimes it puts America in a good light and sometimes not.
I recently listened to a panel discussion on Book TV by three authors who have written about terrible crimes wrought on Native Americans by the American government and people in the 1800s – the word genocide applies. Meticulously documented using contemporary written sources, this horror was no secret at the time. The atrocities have slipped from our national consciousness.
Every nation and people have horrors in their past. Whether we “should” teach the bad as well as the good depends.
- Why do we study history?
- Why teach it in school? At what age and in what detail?
- How should good and evil be balanced?
- How should we portray people from a different era, with different beliefs?
These aren’t simple questions. I might add a question about beloved tales. George Washington chopping down the cherry tree is not true, but it’s a lovely story many of us learned and want to share with today’s children. Should we? Some citizen committees who review textbooks have said yes.
There are more important historical issue: Continue reading