Patriot History Lesson
Accuracy in Academia ^ | August 24, 2006 | Jacqueline Merzer

The history of the United States is a tale of constant oppression— a story of a checkered past where political leaders and economic moguls continually acted in their own self-interest… or so many left-leaning history authors would prefer modern Americans to believe.

American history has been hijacked by the left wing, where the mistakes of America’s past such as slavery, disenfranchisement, and class warfare are overemphasized, while Franklin D. Roosevelt is simultaneously glorified as the savior of the twentieth century with his New Deal policies.

While most textbooks of that nature may cast American history in a bad light and argue that it should be shunned given its constant source of embarrassment, college professors Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen collaborated to produce A Patriot’s History of the United States, which serves to challenge the liberal mode of thought by retelling the story of America in a better perspective and offers an alternative choice to the disproportionate amount of blatantly anti-American American history textbooks on store shelves.

“I struggled to find a textbook that would emphasize the Founders and their visionary documents, analyze the New Deal critically (pointing out its myriad long-term harms), and deal with religion fairly rather than as a pathology,” Schweikart explained to George Mason University’s History News Network.

As the title indicates, Patriot’s History is a realistic attempt to tell the story of America from a positive point of view. Instead of eschewing America’s past as wrought with indignities, this text seeks to encourage a greater study of American heritage in order for people to learn the positive contributions to society and conclude that America really does stand as a “beacon of liberty,” as the authors describe.

In no way are the authors trying to paint a cheery picture of American history. On the contrary, Schweikart and Allen do acknowledge the blunders of the past, but they strive to place them in the proper perspective:

Whereas the exploration and settlement of the North American continent preceded the steep decline in the Native American population, evidence now proves that “pre-Columbian native population numbers are much smaller than critics have maintained,” and diseases once thought to be transferred from Europe were already widespread,

Whereas the Founding Fathers may have been slave-owners themselves, they still injected language into the Constitution that would set the institution of slavery along the path toward extinction, including the prohibition of the international slave trade after 1808,

Whereas Abraham Lincoln had been portrayed as cowardly by hoping to avoid the issue of slavery when conducting the Civil War, he ultimately risked his entire political career on the moral issue of emancipation for the whole slave population,

Whereas entrepreneurs like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller have been judged as ‘big business’ industrialists with interests only for profits and attitudes of indifference toward union workers, these economic tycoons equipped the nation with indispensable products sold at extremely low prices and simultaneously bestowed their vast fortunes to philanthropic organizations,

Whereas Ronald Reagan’s economic theories have been cast as blasphemy in relation to the necessity of government bureaucracies, the ‘Reaganomics’ tax cuts passed under his shrewd leadership resulted in “not only revival of the economy but also restoration of confidence in American productivity and purpose,”

And finally, whereas George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq as part of the greater War on Terror has been suspected of dubious intentions, such as business as usual regarding the oil supply in the Middle East, he ultimately liberated a nation from a tyrannical dictator in the form of Saddam Hussein and willingly turned over power to an interim democratic government.

In addition to providing these alternative viewpoints of American history, Schweikart and Allen also take issue with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s deification within the liberal realm. While recognizing that the New Deal may have solved some of the immediate problems associated with the onset of the Great Depression, the authors argue that it actually created even larger problems for the future.

“In almost every case, the temporary fix offered by the New Deal program resulted in substantial long-term disruptions of labor markets and financial structures and reduced American competitiveness,” the authors explain within the text.

The text outlines both the direct effects and the adverse results of each program instituted through the New Deal, including the well-known Social Security Act of 1935. When enacted over seventy years ago, this piece of legislation intended to provide the elderly population with government-subsidized pensions, but changes in population demography since then have now placed the funds of this program at serious risk of extreme deficit levels if Congress continues to ignore this ominous problem.
Through these examples and more, Schweikart and Allen try to instill a greater appreciation of American history for their American readers. Instead of writing the history of the United States as a tale of a series of failures, they ultimately uphold any earlier misfortunes as necessary obstacles on the path toward a successful future as a world leader.

From Christopher Columbus’s arrival on the North American continent to the unresolved War on Terror, this book tells a unique story, one which should inspire pride within the American population.

“Few, if any other, nations can lay claim to such a legacy. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.”
Jacqueline Merzer, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, was an intern at Accuracy in Media this summer.