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Myths and Cover-ups That became Historical Fact

Updated on September 24, 2010

All to often I sit and think about how frequent I find incorrect "facts" stored in my memory from years of high school history lessons. This has been occurring so often lately, that it has started to really bother me. They say that those who don't know or understand their past are condemned to repeat it, and it appears that this scenario is a reoccurring theme in our history. Yet, this could not be completely our fault, for we are not the ones who physically write our history down, we are simply taught it. A wise general named Petro G. Grigorenko once said, "Concealment of the historical truth is a crime against the people." My question is why does our governments, teachers, school boards, textbook publishers, and writers censor our history so much that it actually is a crime against our rights as citizens? When did this practice begin and why does it still go on? How do we stop this for the children of the future who also are at risk? When I started this endeavor I had no idea what i would uncover in the process, but now I'm absolutely appalled at the amount of information we are often taught as fact, that is an outright lie. I've decided to make a series of hubs on various historical subjects that are commonly fabricated for the public. This first hub is simply an introduction, so it will contain only short examples of what you are to expect from future hubs. Future hubs will be focused only on one subject, but will contain extensive detail on each subject.

Common Misinformation Quickies

  • Our first president was NOT George Washington. Actually there were eight presidents that preceded him. Many historians consider the first president as a man by the name of John Hanson of Maryland. He served under the Articles of Confederation, and like Washington was unanimously chosen. He served a full term, and because of his influence in congress and his prominence in the American Revolution, other candidates refused to run against him. Eventually the inefficiency of the government under the Articles became quite clear to government officials, so they created a more centralized government with the document known as the Constitution. Under the Constitution, congress named George Washington as president.
  • Hollywood loves to fabricate history to a point that it's not even history anymore, it's merely the names of historical figures. A frequently misrepresented lady of history is Cleopatra, who is often portrayed as very beautiful as well as very Egyptian. Neither of these myths are true. In reality, Cleopatra's family line, the Ptolemys, were Macedonian Greeks who took over Egypt following the rule of Alexander the great, and ruled for a little over three hundred years. When Cleopatra VII took her throne, she unfortunately had to share it with her younger brother, however it's a common rumor that she poisoned her brother to gain complete control of the throne. During her rein, Cleopatra managed to have romantic relations with two of Rome's most powerful leaders. It is widely believe that she achieved this feat with her physical charm, but this is a misconception. Historical images of Cleopatra tell a different story, and the story is that she was not an attractive lady. Now you're probably asking yourself how then, did a lady in Cleopatra's day gain power without beauty. Cleopatra came from a powerful family, therefore she received an extremely high quality education. As a child, she was taught math and science, the law system of Egypt, and six different languages. With both her power and her wits, she won the hearts of powerful men. This is probably my favorite misunderstanding, because it truly shows how narrow minded the world can be toward women, even when portraying them historically. When the truth is revealed, it establishes the fact that women can gain power and a place in the history book not from beauty, but from wit.
  • It is often believed that the start of the Revolutionary War began with "The shot heard around the world" in Lexington and Concord, but this is not true. About Two years before Lexington and Concord in a town called Worcester, 4,622 militiamen from 37 surrounding communities faced off with British-appointed officials. The Colonist forced the British to walk the gauntlet, while they recited their recantations thirty times some everyone could hear. These common people who were simply artisans and farmers of a town of only about 300 voters, managed to set off a revolution comprised of "the body of the people". The people were the leaders and the people made decisions. Similar power shifts rapidly began to happening all over the country and by early fall, about a year and a half before Lexington and Concord, British rule had came to an end for about 95 percent of Massachusetts. On October 4, 1774, the people of Worcester dissolved the old constitution and proclaimed a new one should be made.

The Powerful Dictate History

Why are momentous events, such as the few listed above, removed or censored from our historical lessons? Why do the powerful get to write history? Our textbooks omit some of the most important events from history. Like books that turn into movies, textbooks often add and remove important details that distort the original story. This harms our understanding of our past. Ethnocentric themes frequently are the culprit behind these fabricated tales. In modern times, politically correct text have also been the reasoning behind changes in textbooks. I cannot get my head around attempts of passing fiction as fact. This seems to make history dull to a student, and this could be why most students do not enjoy history class. They tend to write the class off as unimportant, even though it is the most important of all. I hope that some of my hubs that follow this one clear up some of the incorrect knowledge that we have consumed. Censorship is an inevitable crime, but we as people can reject it as a disease of the mind, and fight to stop it!      


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