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The (Not Entirely New) Republican War on American History

February 28, 2015 in Blogs

By Steve Singiser, Daily Kos

The GOP struggles to control the past.

Headline #1—“Oklahoma Republicans may have outlawed Advanced Placement courses”:

Oklahoma Republican legislators are debating whether Advanced Placement courses should be taught in their state's public schools. Let's pause to absorb that, shall we? Oklahoma lawmakers do not want their state's students to be able to take classes that will allow them to earn college credit while still in high school, thanks to a far-right conspiracy theory about the College Board's latest AP U.S. History framework. One bill currently being considered would specifically ban the AP U.S. History course, while some legislators think that an anti-Common Core law passed last year may already apply to all AP courses.

Headline #2—Georgia Republicans latest to propose airing of right-wing propaganda as 'history' in public schools:

Georgia wants to “encourage” middle schools and high schools in Georgia to show the latest right-wing propaganda project of an admitted felon in history classes. Which is totally cool, though, because, you see, this six-pack of Georgia right-wingers only wants to show this propaganda because they are convinced … convinced! … that history classes are already a cesspool of left-wing propaganda.

Conservative contempt for academia has long been established, the conservative euphoria over Scott Walker's lack of a college degree being a recent example. But this goes deeper—this is not just a curious strain of anti-intellectualism that has long been a staple of Republican rhetoric. This is a war on the study of American History itself, and it seems entirely plausible, if not likely, that the driving force is far more about contemporary politics than it is about historical dispute about interpretations of the past.

Follow me past the jump for an explanation of why the War on History might have more to do with 21st century politics than events of the prior centuries.


Despite the fact that these two legislative assaults on the study of American History in schools are recent, by no means do they exist in isolation. Republican attempts to alternately stifle the study of American History, or attempt to retrofit common historical interpretations to …read more


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