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What version of history is Michele Bachmann tapping on the stump?

Last week, presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann signed an Iowa group’s “marriage vow,” declaring, among other things: “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

Earlier this year, she sparked headlines for insisting that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to abolish slavery.

What history lessons is Bachmann tapping on the stump? Possibly chapters from her own early activism, much of it built on efforts to ensure that schoolchildren be taught a “Judeo-Christian worldview” of history.

Last month I posted three pieces on Education Liberty Watch, the small but connected organization that played a major role in scuttling several revenue-neutral, bipartisan initiatives before the Legislature that would have boosted the quality of the early childhood education available to at-risk Minnesota kids. Why? Safe at home with their parents, they won’t be drilled in revisionist history.

Education Liberty Watch grew out of EdWatch, first known as the Maple River Education Coalition, the group that gave Bachmann her first visible platform. The writings of the group’s members provide a few hints as to her ideas about American exceptionalism, which don’t square tidily with that whole slavery thing. 

A few links, then, for those among you who might want to know more about this view of history:

A good starting point is Education Liberty Watch’s position [May 6 post] on the problems with the proposed state curriculum standards for history. You’ll note that talk of slavery during colonial times is criticized, and wholly absent from discussion of the Civil War.

From there, you might want to sample the YouTube oeuvre of Michael J. Chapman, founder of American Heritage Research and Bachmann’s erstwhile Maple River speaking companion. Chapman explains that the secular humanists’ end goal is numbing an entire generation of pupils into a false sense of complacency so that they won’t know that global citizenship is a plot to strip entire communities of their property rights, among other things.

Chapman’s website also contains a number of articles that might be easier to follow, including one that decries anti-Christian bias [PDF] in U.S. public education.

Page 2 contains some specifics on what mainstream history lessons tend to get wrong about just who is the aggressor and who the victim in this whole oppressor-slave equation. This particular treatise draws its examples from colonial expansion in Latin America, where missionaries apparently sought to protect indigenous peoples from slavery.

Globalism is seen as dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is it opens the door to immigrants, who open it to Islamic jihadists. Bachmann describes how this pipeline works in remarks about riots in France. Her conclusion: “Not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal.”

Lastly, there’s comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s hilarious take-away from the whole thing, in which Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams sail across the Delaware to tell the King of England, who seems to have had a little-known leather fetish, that they had had enough of his liberal agenda.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/12/2011 - 09:39 am.

    Would be funny if it weren’t real.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/12/2011 - 10:54 am.

    Finally! Something upon which Mrs. Bachmann and I agree: “Not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal.”

    Beyond that, unfortunately, this “worldview” of “history” genuinely qualifies as “lunatic” by my dictionary’s definition of the term. That Mrs. Bachmann can get elected to ANY office while espousing this stuff reflects poorly, indeed, on the people who vote for her. That she has even a shred of viability as a presidential candidate must have literate people in other parts of the world looking on in wide-eyed disbelief.

    I’m with Paul Brandon. This would be mildly amusing if it weren’t real. Thanks, Beth, for providing links to show just how crazy EdWatch and Education Liberty Watch really are.

    While I’d like to see some of the gaps in the proposed state curriculum closed (assuming they exist outside the fevered imagination of Marjorie Holsten), what EdWatch’s review of proposed state standards reinforces more than anything else is that home schooling, at least of the EdWatch variety, is the sort of thing that makes me fear for the future of the republic.

    To cite just one example…

    I’m a charter member of the Oregon-California Trails Association, an organization founded decades ago to preserve the remnants of emigrant routes to the West that were heavily used by pioneer settlers in the 19th century. I’ve retraced the Oregon Trail 3 times, and the most heavily-used California variant as well. I’ve been to the Homestead National Monument in Nebraska, gold camps in the Sierra Nevada, explored the Bozeman Road in Wyoming, and the valley of the Little Bighorn in Montana. That EdWatch should be surprised to see proposed standards mention “…the dispossession of indigenous land and the impact on indigenous nations” is itself surprising, since that is, in fact, pretty much the story of America’s western expansion. Minnesota itself provides ample opportunity for high school students to study the idea of dispossession of native populations. EdWatch is apparently unfamiliar with the presence in Minnesota of several areas of land set aside as…um… Indian Reservations. Why and how those reservations were created might be instructive for not just high school students, but also for Ms. Holsten.

    And so on, ad nauseum. If the “liberal” view of history is distorted, then the EdWatch view of history is equally skewed.

    Further, I’m less-than-enthused by the EdWatch call for “legislative approval” of any state curriculum. In the relatively short time I’ve lived here, I’ve already seen plenty of examples of legislators whose grasp of history seems largely nonexistent. It’s not a good idea to put the approval of a history curriculum in the hands of people who don’t know anything about the subject.

    More relevant to the title of Beth’s piece, it ought to be of concern to a LOT of Minnesotans that Michele Bachmann apparently buys into a conspiratorial view of American history that is largely at odds with the facts.

  3. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/13/2011 - 01:27 am.

    “Globalism is seen as dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is it opens the door to immigrants, who open it to Islamic jihadists. Bachmann describes how this pipeline works in remarks about riots in France. Her conclusion: “Not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal.””

    Try living as a Jew in France or Europe these days. Walk through Clichy-sous-Bois or some other banlieue. You’ll get a clue.

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