This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The truth behind all the stuff they taught you at school

Every once in a while I will see a post on Facebook about Christopher Columbus, or George Washington, or whatever, along with a shocking headline that says that what you learned in school was a lie. I try to ignore these, but sometimes it just makes me sad.

If you're one of those people who are shocked to find out that you were told lies in school, chances are the school that you are remembering is grade school. And I agree with you, that giving people just a tiny bit of cleaned up information is tantamount to lying to them. But somewhere along the line, as a grownup, the idea was that your intellectual curiosity would spur you on to learn more things. Maybe reading a book or two about the lives of famous people, maybe taking a college class.

If you recite things like "in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue"... or "listen children and you will hear about the midnight ride of Paul Reverse", then unfortunately you're telling me that whatever you learned in grade school is pretty much where you stopped learning about this stuff. And as a grownup, looking back and wondering why you were given this simplistic view of the world by schools and teachers, you may wonder if it's correct? It's certainly not very complete. But hey, it was grade school. Your teachers were teaching you to read, and hopefully to become inquisitive about the world.

So, if you're a grownup and you're wondering about anything you learned in school, chances are it's going to be, at the very least, incomplete. But luckily, there's something you can do about it. Learn. Books are available for free at your library. This is America, and we don't censor them here. Find a book about the world of 15th Century Spain and Italy, and start there. Yes, it's going to take some time, but no one is going to stop you. And if you think the book is lying to you, go read some more books. That's a good start.

By the way, take a look at the map there behind Christopher Columbus. It shows the Island of California. No, they didn't cover that in grade school, nor did they cover it up, there just wasn't time. But you have all the time you need now. Go find out for yourself.
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