20 Historical Facts That Republicans Distort Or Just Get Plain Wrong (Part I)
We all know at least one person that doesn’t know much about history. And we all know that there have been people who have tried to distort history. The Republican Party, however, does both. Over these last two years, Republicans have a made a real effort to distort history as much as possible, to the point where they are now seeking to rewrite school textbooks. The Republican Party has bent over backwards to present their own twisted version of history and it’s starting to look like that one requirement to be a Republican is to be ignorant of historical facts and events. Below is a list of the many historical facts that Republicans have either distorted or have just gotten plain wrong along with corrections of their errors.
1. Did Paul Revere Ride To Warn The British?) Sarah Palin made the dubious claim that Paul Revere actually warned the British instead of the American colonists. Her supporters even made attempts to edit the Paul Revere Wikipedia entry to make her claims sound correct. If she had taken the time to read Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, she would not have made this error, as the great majority of school children know that Revere made his midnight ride to warn Americans, not the enemy.
2. Was The Shot Heard ‘Round The World Fired In New Hampshire?) Did you know that Lexington and Concord are located in New Hampshire? I didn’t. And the people in New Hampshire and Massachusetts didn’t either. When Michele Bachmann exclaimed to a New Hampshire crowd that “the shot heard ’round the world” occurred in their state, I’m sure that Massachusetts let out a roar of laughter. The sad but hilarious thing is that most American children know that the first shot of the American Revolution occurred in the state of Massachusetts.
3. Was John Quincy Adams A Founding Father?) Michele Bachmann must have failed American History in school. Because she has absolutely no knowledge of early American history. She once claimed that John Quincy Adams is a Founding Father of America when in fact, JQA was just a child when the Revolution began. He was born in 1767 and was just 14 when the war ended. And like Palin’s supporters, Bachmann fans proceeded to edit the Wikipedia page of John Quincy Adams in an attempt to make her claim viable.
4. Did The Founding Fathers End Slavery?) Michelle Bachmann isn’t through yet. During a speaking event she once claimed that the Founding Fathers were the ones who ended slavery. That’s a surprise to me since George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe all owned slaves. In fact, 12 of the first 16 American Presidents owned slaves. But Bachmann’s attempt to paint the Founding Fathers as saints is also a denial of past Republican Party history since early Republicans rose to prominence by fighting against slavery and the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, ended slavery altogether.
5. Was America Founded As A Christian State?) Ever heard of David Barton? He’s the guy that Glenn Beck goes to when he wants to distort history. David Barton claims that the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian state. Many Republicans have since picked up on this claim and have been shamelessly using it to court the Christian right-wing, and as a reason to end the separation of church and state that has been part of this country since its founding. His claim can be trounced with one question. If the Founding Fathers wanted America to be a Christian state why did they not say so in the Constitution? Instead, the Founders placed this in the document.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
~First Amendment, Bill of Rights of the Constitution
In other words, there is to be absolutely NO state religion.
6. Did Benjamin Franklin Reject Evolution?) We continue with the lack of knowledge of the Founding Fathers among the right-wing. Many Republicans have been making the claim that Benjamin Franklin rejected evolution. There are two problems with this claim. First, the theory of evolution wasn’t around until Charles Darwin published the theory in 1859, nearly 70 years AFTER Franklin died in 1790. And secondly, Franklin was a man of science above all else. It is unlikely that he would have rejected a scientific theory in favor of creationism. Franklin in fact, rejected the dogma and divinity of Christianity.
7. Was The American Revolution Fought To End Slavery?) Yet another claim that David Barton makes in an attempt to present the founding generation as perfect, is that the American Revolution was waged to end slavery. Once again, Barton makes a claim that is completely false. The American Revolution was fought to win American independence from Great Britain. And as I recall, the slaves were certainly not freed before, during, or after the war. They remained as slaves and would be slaves until the Civil War.
8. Was The Civil War Fought Over State’s Rights?) Republicans claim that it was all about state’s rights and not about slavery. The truth is, state’s rights only played a small role. The South feared that President Lincoln would end slavery, so they took preemptive measures by seceding from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter without any provocation. Slavery was, without a doubt, the main cause of the war between the states. Without slavery, white plantation owners would have to pick their own cotton, or, pay people to do it for them. They also believed Africans to be inferior and would not tolerate their freedom. We should all keep that in mind as the South/Republican home base continues to make claims that they aren’t racist.
9. Do States Have The Right To Secede?) After President Obama took office, many Republican legislators and governors, particularly in the South, began threatening secession. They say secession is a right but is it really? The answer is absolutely not. Not only did the Civil War settle this dispute, James Madison and Andrew Jackson (both Southerners) also rejected this claim. Nowhere in the Constitution will you find the right to secede. The Constitution was created by the people “in order to form a more perfect union” and by seceding, a state breaks up the nation, thus breaking a legally binding contract. And Andrew Jackson once threatened to march an army to South Carolina after that state threatened to secede. In fact, Jackson felt that secession was treason. The Supreme Court has also weighed in on this issue. In Texas v White, the court held that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null”.
10. Was D-Day All About Health Care?) Republicans have been very vocal about the Affordable Care Act and Rick Santorum is no exception. He has made the claim that Americans stormed the beaches at Normandy on D-Day because they opposed Obamacare. He said, “Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom … Those Americans risked everything so they could make [their own] decision on their health care plan.”
This is absurd. The men that stormed the Omaha and Utah beaches were fighting to liberate Europe from Nazi rule. They weren’t thinking about health care 67 years into the future. They were thinking of their families and whether they’d ever see them again. Santorum also fails to realize that military personnel and their dependents have government-run health care. And the soldiers aren’t complaining about it either. And as a matter of fact, many World War II veterans and their families also have Medicare which is also run by the federal government. That blows Santorum’s claim out of the water.