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The PJ Tatler

by
Callista Gingrich

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November 19, 2013 - 10:56 am
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It is vitally important that young Americans learn why America is unique. Unlike many nations, defined by geography, ethnicity, and language, America is a country defined by great ideals.

This means that anyone can learn to be American. And over three centuries, tens of millions have arrived on our shores to do just that. The big ideas that define America — that all men are created equal, and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — draw many people here.

These principles are the basis of our system of government, the subject of our political debates, and at the heart of what makes America exceptional. Thankfully, most Americans still understand the importance of these ideas.

A Gallup poll in 2010 asked respondents, “Because of the United States’ history and its Constitution, do you think the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world?”

80 percent of all Americans said they believed this to be true, that America is an exceptional nation, including 91 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Independents, and 73 percent of Democrats.

Today, however, we are in danger of losing our appreciation for what makes America unique. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that the belief in America’s greatness is much lower among younger Americans. Only 34 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 say they believe America is the greatest country in the world.

While this number is concerning, it shouldn’t be surprising. For two generations we have failed to teach American history. As a result, we are beginning to see our nation’s memory of the past slip away, including the values and principles upon which America was founded.

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All Comments   (9)
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21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ho Hummmmm.......History is written by the victors.

Did Lincoln not have political prisoners held without trial?? Was Japan's invasion of Manchuria not similar in purpose to our invasion of Iraq? Did the government not kill dozens of innocent women and children at Waco?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Rush's very entertaining new book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, deserves a mention here. History is full of fascinating people and really great stories--great for dinner table conversation and bedtime story reading.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
A big part of what has made this country so exceptional is the character of its Founders.

As the Left is so fond of reminding us the Founders were overwhelmingly white, educated, priviliged and financially well off. What the Left gets entirely wrong is why that's so important.

See, we know we won the Revolution because it happened two centuries ago. But the men who launched it had no guarantee that it would succeed. Indeed, the smart money would have bet that the mightiest nation on Earth would crush the upstarts and restore order to the colonies in short order and send all the traitors to the gallows.

So what these men did was exchange their lives of privilige for lives of hardship that were extremely likely to end prematurely at the end of rope. And if they somehow managed to actually win this insane war they'd have the problems of establishing a brand new nation to look forward to.

These were men who had everything to gain by simply going along to get along and everything to lose by bucking the system. And yet buck the system they did, for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. The founding of this nation was an act of almost inconceivable heroism. We do those men, those patriots, a grave dishonor by allowing our children to grow up ignorant about the country they stand to inherit.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The results of the Department of Education’s recent National Assessment of Educational Progress suggest the size of this challenge. Just 20 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth-graders and 12 percent of twelfth-graders were at grade-level proficiency in American history in a recent NAEP survey."

Callista, that you would complain about the problem of American children failing to learn history and then use Department of Education statistics belies your own intent. Your husband is a self-professed "Progressive" (statist). I think you're also a statist. In other words, you're part of the problem about which you complain.

The Department of Education is certainly part of the problem, as is every single statist who has their lying hands on any part of education. I agree with your premise, but I seriously doubt we'd agree on the solution, much less its implementation.

Cheers.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Frankly I think how we teach history is problematic, in that up through elementary school kids learn these superficial buzz-names. They learn about George Washington and Ben Franklin, but they're just told we're supposed to like them. "Because he won the war" or "Because he was the first president."

It's not that they are taught bad history - it's that we attempt to teach them any history before they comprehend the present world enough to be able to comprehend history. To understand that the idea of an individual being free was (is) mostly foreign to the world, and was simply unnatural to most world views. To understand that equality of law was not the normal case. They have to understand that no matter how logical and self-evident our system might seem from the inside, from the outside dreaming it up was no small feat.

Answer their questions about what came before. World War 2 is cut-and-dry enough. Don't cover the civil war or the Revolution until they have the imagination and experience to comprehend why it was special, and not just another rebellion.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hair spray, for starters.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only way conservatives are going to restore America is by taking back the school systems. Liberals,err....Progressives rely on the educational environment to indoctrinate new members into their ranks. It's not the children of conservatives that we need to educate as most of them have parents who are highly involved in their children's education. It's the child of non-involved parents that are destined to be low-information voters that we need to educate.

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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