"History is the torch that is meant to illuminate the past, to guard us against the repetition of our mistakes of other days. We cannot join in the rewriting of history to make it conform to our comfort and convenience."
- Claude G. Bowers, The U.S. and the Spanish Civil War
Please sign this petition if you are bothered by history being rewritten to exclude any portions of history; if you are annoyed with history books being rewritten to show anyone in a more or less favorable light; if you're tired of history being re-written to convenience others.
History should not take sides. Studying history means being given all the facts that we have available to us (while also seeking new facts) and developing opinions based on all information presented. To limit the knowledge that students are given from the beginning of their studies limits the understanding that they may ultimately reach.
This is an important matter because in 2010 Texas, one of the largest producers of textbooks, passed similar legislation. It is not acceptable to rewrite history to suit the needs of a small group. Please sign this petition and pass it along to prevent it from happening in Tennessee.
Students need to see the full picture of history--the good, the bad, and the ugly. We appreciate the good and try to repeat it. We acknowledge the bad and the ugly and try to learn from it. Not everything that happened during the founding of our country was a beautiful story. Africans were captured, held in bondage, killed, forced to work lands that were not their own; Native Americans were moved off their homelands, killed, and enslaved; women did not have many rights and had to do what their fathers and then husbands commanded; and yes, our Founding Fathers owned slaves and took from the land and life from people already living in this country. They did these things because 1) they thought it was right at the time, 2) could not see a way around it even if they disagreed, and 3) they were attempting to start a country in the best ways they knew how--among other reasons.
The Founding Fathers were not perfect beings, but they are still respected and revered (as they should be) for starting this great nation. Doing things that are now perceived to be unacceptable does not negate who the Founding Fathers were. Accepting that they made mistakes makes them more human--not vilified. It does not do anyone any good to see them only in a perfect light because no human is perfect. It is not helpful to any citizen of this state to ignore all aspects of slavery, call the Slave trade the Atlantic Triangular Trade, and possibly create inferiority complexes in an entire generation of minorities.
Please sign this petion and pass it along because it is dangerous to limit the amount of education a child receives. It is dangerous to make Tennessee's children less well-versed than their peers in other states. It is dangerous to rewrite history. To quote Orwell's 1984: "Those who control the past control the future.” If we are allowed to rewrite history to appease the whims of a small section of society, there's no telling where it will end.
We CANNOT allow this to become legislation or else we will have an entire generation of children who do not know the whole picture of the past and who will inevitably be doomed to repeat it.
Quotes to consider:
"The older I get the more I'm convinced that it's the purpose of politicians and journalists to say the world is very simple, whereas it's the purpose of historians to say, 'No! It's very complicated.'
The job of the historian is to help give people a sense of existence in time, without which we are really not fully human."
- Sir David Cannadine, Historian
"In its Greek origins, historia meant inquiry, and from Thucydides onwards, the past has been studied to understand its connections with the present."
- Simon Schama (Professor of History, Cambridge Univ.)
Please sign this petition and pass it along!