How is history taught differently in different regions of the US?

And what impact does this difference have?

Current issues
By VoiceBox ·
Photo by Caleb Fisher on Unsplash

Juan

Juan is a current student at the University of South Carolina studying history and plans to enter the education field after graduating.

The Confederacy in America (2021)

While in Middle School I had a history teacher who did not like me in the slightest – and given my ongoing adolescent angst, it was quite understandable. Even despite this there is one particular lesson she gave that sticks with me to this day, in which she justified the actions of the Confederacy.

The common idea she wanted to portray to that American history class was that the South fought the Union over “States Rights” and the overreach of federal government power. While true in the sense that the south were attempting to evade federal laws, it should also be stated what specific laws the South were so opposed to. The truth of the matter is that the American Civil War was fought over whether slavery would remain legal in the United States and the South’s willingness to go to war for the continuation of the abusive system.

What my history teacher did was encourage misinformation by attempting to justify a nation who only lasted four years and was founded to protect their right to own human beings. I would love to say that this sort of southern sympathizing is rare, but it never has been. Having talked to others who were raised in the south, many have told me of their similar experiences. It can be disappointing to see so much misinformation spread throughout the American Education system, especially considering my plans to enter the education field.

The misinformation can be seen by a section of Americans who fully idolize the Confederacy through flags, statues, memorabilia to the point where any action to get rid of these are met with hostility. This attitude towards American history has (like many others) been magnified under the Trump presidency. Trump has routinely iterated his support for confederacy symbols; from the “very fine people on both sides” during Charlottesville, to outrage at the removal of confederate statues and attempts to rename military bases.

This Confederate remembrance has very real consequences – and the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021 is a prime example. For me, the most striking picture from the riot was a Trump supporter walking the halls of the Capitol with the Confederate Battle Flag on his back. The group who claim to be patriots of the United States stormed the capital with flags of an enemy and loser of its deadliest war. This is the furthest the Confederate flag has ever got to the capital of the United States, close to 200 years after the conclusion of the American Civil War. The picture instantly triggered my memory of this teacher who wanted to alter the motivations of the American South to make them sound more heroic. This effort only results in a rise of misinformation that encouraged the actions like those seen on January 6th, 2021.

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