Friday, February 8, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 89



Political correctness affects history

John Moon

An article in the Washington Post disturbed me recently. It reported that the New Jersey Department of Education had revised its history
standards. It added some names and deleted a few from the list of historical figures who would be covered in the history classes of the
state's public schools. These revisions include the omission of some names one may or may not have heard before: George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. The New Jersey Department of Education did this in the shining name of
political correctness.

This is not political correctness it is revisionist history. These are three men who were formidable forces in getting this nation off the
ground, but they won't be mentioned because they have already received more press than other historical figures. 

One of the names to be added into the curriculum is that of Theodore Dwight Weld, who was an opponent of slavery during the Civil
War. He is obviously a figure of note, but why does the inclusion of his name and historical achievements mean the omission of George

Yes, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, but those facts should be brought to light. History will offend people.
In a thousand years we might all be gone, but our history will most certainly offend those who come after us. The new books should let
the truth of history decide who was important, and they should not skew the facts so students will only get the history we wish we had.
And we should never revise history so it doesn't offend. Another thing the New Jersey Department of Education is omitting from the
curriculum is the word "pilgrim." The fear is that this label has certain religious connotations attached that might offend those who abstain
from religion.

But those same children live in a country that is oppressive enough to print "In God We Trust" on its currency. Maybe someone should do
something about that pesky Declaration of Independence, too. After all, doesn't it say something about unalienable rights given by God?
It's unbelievable how many places that "G-word" keeps rearing its ugly head.

The truth is that the first settlers who came to this country were in search of religious freedom. That fact doesn't change regardless of how
badly some people want it to. Neither does the fact that Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were so
fundamentally critical to the founding of this nation that they should be given respectable space in history books because of their

Remaining true to the essence of historical accuracy means that many of the great men who founded this nation and also participated in
the cruel and barbaric act of slavery should be taught about even if it is embarrassing.

There is no way to escape the truth of what actually happened in our history. Things happen, have happened and will happen that we
don't like. But the point is that they happened.

Moon, a sophomore communication 
major, can be reached at

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