Education History Koch Brothers

Unhinged History


As we all know, Advanced Placement U.S. History will make you want to join ISIS, so the Koch Brothers have an alternative curriculum that paints a very different picture.

Even though our sainted founders owned slaves and included slavery in the founding of the country, the Koch Brothers’ curriculum makes it clear that an asterisk should have been included when they said ‘all men are created equal.’

via TPM

“Some say that the Declaration’s authors didn’t mean to include everyone when they wrote ‘all men are created equal.’ They say that Jefferson and the Continental Congress just meant to include white men who owned property. But this is not true. Jefferson and the Continental Congress did not believe that there was a natural class of rulers, and they asserted that the colonists had the same right to rule themselves as the people of England,” an essay in the curriculum asserts.

“Slavery was an important economic and social institution in the United States,” the essay continues. “The Founders understood that they would have to tolerate slavery as part of a political compromise. They did not see a way to take further action against slavery in their lifetimes, though many freed their slaves after their deaths.”

It’s contradictory to assert that our founders did not believe in slavery or that some men are not equal while acknowledging that the founders owned slaves and codified it during the nation’s founding.

Slaves were not counted as whole human beings under the 3/5ths compromise, which necessarily designates white people as a “class of rulers,” and slaves were not counted as colonists. These are facts of historical record that the Koch Brothers curriculum attempts to white-wash.

Conservative critics of accurate history seem to think that we cannot appreciate the founding of our country while also acknowledging its faults. They don’t believe you can walk and chew gum at the same time because they cannot.

Acknowledging our faults is called “anti-American” by conservatives who seemingly believe that nothing short of sainthood is good enough for America.

I’m not even sure what to call that. It’s too ignorant to be snobby. It’s reverse elitism.

I also suspect they want you to believe the nation was perfect from the beginning to discourage you from questioning the status-quo today. Conservatives are adamantly opposed to the idea that the constitution is a living document that needs to evolve over time. For them, the Second Amendment is sacrosanct but the Fourteenth is questionable.

  • bphoon

    For them, the Second Amendment is sacrosanct but the Fourteenth is questionable.

    Along with Article V.

  • Badgerite

    Slavery was an “important economic institution”. Some white colonists got rich on it at the expense of the people enslaved and at the expense of other poor colonists. If economic analysts are correct, the country got rich on it. If history is actually understanding the people of the past and why they did what they did, this approach to teaching history is designed to cover all of that in obfuscation and weasel words. Of course slavery was “an important social institution” we fought a civil war over the legitimacy of that “important social institution” and Lincoln was killed by a man who was murderously angered at the thought of “nigger citizenry”. The accurate word for that “important social institution” is racism. A hundred years later that “important social institution” was alive and well and maintained by Jim Crowe laws in the South and defacto ghettos and discrimination in the north. We have a lot to account for as a nation. It is time we started accounting for it honestly. The Koch brothers are hereby sentenced to listen to at least a hundred playings of the Crosby, Stills and Nash song, Teach Your Children Well.

  • trgahan

    Open question:

    Where does it say in the Constitution that “We the People” have to follow whatever “the Founders” (ask a conservative to define THAT term) intended NOT what is actually written on the page…ie. “all men are created equal”?

    I wonder if the Koch-backed curriculum includes the actual reason for the Continental Congress to even exist? The Articles of Confederation (basically how Koch et al. want to remake our country today) had economically and governmentally destroyed the colonies in less than a decade since independence and a new, more centralized government was needed or the powers of Europe were going to start re-conquering that failed state.

    Something tells me it goes from Yorktown to Philly pretty quick…

  • ninjaf

    This just continues the conservative need to paint everything in binary terms. Everything is black or white. Good or evil. For us or against us. There is no in between.

  • muselet

    Let us never forget that Charles and David Koch inherited their father’s oil refining and chemicals business.

    I’m not saying that’s wrong or evil—it’s not—but the microsecond these two presume to lecture the rest of us about individual responsibility (the proposed curriculum is full of it, in all senses) is the microsecond they deserve to be pelted with garbage.


  • GrafZeppelin127

    The purpose behind this whole America-F***-Yeah idea is to make liberalism not only wrong but unnecessary. If America was perfect from the beginning, never had any flaws, never did anything bad to anyone anywhere ever, then there was never any need to change things. Liberalism is, at least in part, about righting historical wrongs and correcting social injustices; if there were no historical wrongs, there was never any need for liberals to right them. If there were never any (and are no) social injustices, who needs liberals to correct them?

    On the other hand, if kids learn that there have been social injustices in our history, they also have to learn that it was liberals and liberalism that righted those wrongs.

    • JMAshby

      Good points.

    • aynwrong

      And conservatives who have fought to maintain those wrongs tooth and nail for decades. Truthfully all of American history.

    • Scopedog

      “On the other hand, if kids learn that there have been social injustices in our history, they also have to learn that it was liberals and liberalism that righted those wrongs.”

      Yep. And there’s a liberal in the White House right now who’s doing just that.

    • bphoon

      Hell, by any definition I’d say the Founders themselves were liberals.