What did I really learn in history class?

teacher sharing "facts" about Washington

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At times I feel as though I’m experiencing a great awakening. It isn’t often, but i’ve had my share of moments of clarity and epiphany. Sadly I’ve probably forgotten some of them, which is a good reason for me to write about this current awakening I’m experiencing. But first a little biographical information.

I experienced a similar process half a dozen years ago when I read Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. I was 25 or 26. It changed my construct of life. Until that time I was superficially acquainted with U.S. history and modern politics. I knew dates and names, mostly regarding U.S. Military history and war involvement, but I didn’t know people, ideas, theories, and specifics about events, such as why we were involved in those wars. Common Sense awoke in me the freedom instinct and I became hungry for involvement in the world around me. Of course, like most things, this hunger waxed and waned as life went on. While I tried to keep informed and learn more history, I stayed on a superficial plane, more emotional than empirical. Over the last six years the hunger for freedom fell asleep in some ways. Thankfully it is waking up within me once again.

And once again it is a book that is waking me up. A book that presents a collection of writings of the founders of the United States  It is a commentary on the principles the founders believed would establish America as a beacon of liberty to the entire world. It presents what the author refers to as a 5,000 year leap, meaning that the U.S. has accomplished more in its first 200 years for advancing the station of humanity than had been accomplished in the previous 5,000 years. This is the book that has driven my last few posts. W. Cleon Skousen is the author; it is titled The 5,000 Year Leap: A miracle that changed the world. As I read the book I kept finding myself questioning my learned attitudes towards the founders and the constitution. What were they teaching me in school, and why does it seem like they weren’t telling the whole story?

Modern voices may try to dismiss the founders and their contributions to the establishment of this country. Defame the author and you defame the work. But these were not ignorant men. They were well read and educated, very literate. They were also agrarians. These men knew the world they lived in. They didn’t have electricity, internal combustion engines or even indoor plumbing. What they did they did by their own industry, with their own hands. They believed in God. They thought all people did. They wanted all people to have the benefit of believing in God, but didn’t take it upon themselves to tell anyone how to do so. They opposed tyranny and feared it creeping into the United States. They believed in individual liberty and responsibility  It was the natural right for a person to succeed or fail based on their own thrift and industry. It was the natural right for a person to have charity in their heart and help others, or not. It was the natural right for a person to obtain property and defend it. Family was important and the marriage bond was sacred. Husbands and wives were equal partners in the home, as taught in the Bible, with the husband being the head of the household. Men voted in elections on behalf of their family. It wasn’t a sexism thing. They believed in family unity, individual responsibility, hard work, and God.

U.S. Constitution image

U.S. Constitution

They were not perfect, but they provided a foundation for progress to launch from and progress has been enjoyed for over 230 years. Times do change, but principles of virtue and morality do not. I believe a full return to the Constitution and principles that lead to the creation of this free nation would lead to the resolution of so many of our problems we face today. We will never get there if the history books don’t teach history as it really happened, unless we all embrace our personal liberty and follow the founder’s invitation to accept individual responsibility and educate ourselves.

About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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