For a long time, I couldn’t understand why people hated our historical forefathers. I didn’t know where the Pilgrim and Columbus misunderstanding and misrepresentation came from. I mean, I assumed (correctly) that it was being badly taught in schools, but I thought it was a gradual updating of one textbook from the last (bad) textbook, written by liberal bureaucrats and taught by teachers who hadn’t done their research.
While much of that is also true, I began to realize that there was a definite shift in the representation of all American history in my lifetime. That shift was the result of one book: A People’s History of the United States of America by Howard Zinn. There are two ways you can verify this: ask anyone what they believe about Columbus, or ask them if they’ve ever heard of Howard Zinn. You’ll find that either answer is connected to both questions. Most Americans today believe Columbus was a murdering rapist, and they have no clue who Zinn is. An additional segment of the population knows who Zinn is and adores him (while celebrating Indigenous People’s Day).
I strongly urge all Americans to read Zinn’s book along with Debunking Howard Zinn by Mary Grabar. Reading Zinn’s book will help you to understand how we got where we are today. Reading Grabar’s book will expose the ridiculousness of Zinn’s “history.”
Zinn uses a mix of plagiarism and opinion to create what is a very influential mangling of American history. And Americans have lapped it up. No double checking. No critical thinking.
Zinn prided himself on telling “untold” stories. The reason they were “untold” is because they were untrue.
Don’t just take it from me. Here at Knowledge Keepers, I specialize in publishing the stories that were written by the people who were there. Just like Columbus. He was not a murdering rapist. He was not a saint. He was human, just like you and me, and he while he made some errors in judgement, he also accomplished some incredible things.
The same is true throughout American history. Zinn paints pretty much all American heroes as devils. But that’s not all. He has a knack for sanctifying the underdog, as if being a victim automatically imbues righteousness. (Now we call it intersectionality, a cog in the Critical Theory machine.)
There’s no doubt that Zinn reshuffled the good guys and the bad guys. As we shall see, A People’s History recast World War II — the “good war” fought by the “Greatest Generation” — as a string of Allied atrocities matching those of our Nazi enemies. Zinn inspired young activists to embrace Marxism and see civil rights through its lens rather than as a fight for equal opportunity, as it was originally envisioned by the abolitionists, the NAACP, and even the early black nationalists…
What he did in his History, as Zinn explained on page two of his autobiography, was to reveal the Founding Fathers to be not only “ingenious organizers” but also “rich white slaveholders, merchants, bondholders, fearful of lower-class rebellion, or, as James Madison put it, of an ‘equal division of property.’ Our military heroes — Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt — were racists, Indian-killers, war lovers, imperialists. Our most liberal Presidents — Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy — were more concerned with political power and national aggrandizement than with the rights of nonwhite people. (Grabar, Chapter 2: The Life of Zinn)
Mary Grabar, in Debunking Howard Zinn, painstakingly corrects Zinn’s history with primary source documents. She also shares Zinn’s personal and professional history, including the fact that he was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA. He taught classes on Marxism, marched for communist ideals, and campaigned for Marxist politicians. He was a proud Marxist, and it is reflected in his writings.
Grabar goes on to note (with the backing of multiple historians) that “Howard Zinn has succeeded in convincing a generation of Americans that the nation Abraham Lincoln called the “last best hope of Earth” is essentially a racist criminal enterprise built on murdering Indians, exploiting slaves, and oppressing the working man.“
This is the reason that teachers, professors, and college grads hate America. This is is why school students and pastors and many other average American citizens truly believe that our American ancestors were just a bunch of racist, greedy Europeans and that Christopher Columbus actually tortured and raped the Indian people he encountered on his voyages. The Zinn narrative has become part of the fabric of America.
Now you see these ideas in every medium: children’s books, textbooks, history lessons, educational YouTube videos, Hollywood, and social media. That’s why many well-meaning Americans simply believe the lies. They’re hard to escape.
Zinn is not entirely to blame for the rise in Marxist critical theory (or cultural Marxism), but he took the academic notions and made them mainstream. If you’re unfamiliar with these ideas, I encourage you to read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, with a special focus on the last chapters on Cultural Marxism. Social justice, feminism, intersectionality…the list is growing longer. All of these stem from Marxism.
My focus here at Knowledge Keepers is history in print, original sources, and not quick Google searches. While a Google search will show you what the currant narrative is about Christopher Columbus, the Pilgrims, and the Founders, printed copies of primary sources are the safest form of knowledge, as well as the preservation of that knowledge.
Read Christopher Columbus’ actual diaries (including the diary of Las Casas) in Christopher Columbus: His Story and His Journals. Read Zinn’s history for yourself, and read Mary Grabar’s book along with it. And consider investing in the Knowledge Keepers set to preserve primary sources in your own home and for your children and grandchildren.
It’s no longer enough to read history; you must be aware of the differences between primary sources and modern revisions. Teach your children the differences. Show them the truth and the lies. If you plan to send your children to any college anywhere, prepare them with these books first. Help them to recognize bias.
Be a Knowledge Keeper!