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For the past three decades, many history professors have allowed their biases to distort the way America’s past is taught. These intellectuals have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America’s patriots and the achievements of "dead white men."
As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington; more about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II than about D-Day or Iwo Jima; more on the dangers we faced from Joseph McCarthy than those we faced from Josef Stalin.
A Patriot’s History of the United States corrects those doctrinaire biases. In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.
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Larry Schweikart is a professor of history at the University of Dayton.
Michael Allen is a professor of history at the University of Washington, Tacoma.
Larry Schweikart is a professor of history at the University of Dayton. He has written more than twenty books on banking and financial history, business history, and national defense, including The Entrepreneurial Adventure (2000) and America’s Victories (2006), 48 Liberal Lies About American History (2008), Seven Events that Made America America (2010), and, with Dave Dougherty, the two- volume series A Patriot’s History of the Modern World (2012–2013). He lives in Centerville, Ohio, with his wife, Dee.
Michael Allen was born and raised in Ellensburg, Washington, and served as a Marine Corps artilleryman in Vietnam. He is a professor of history at the University of Washington, Tacoma, is the author of the prizewinning Western Rivermen, 1763–1861 (1990) and Rodeo Cowboys in the North American Imagination (1998), as well as several other books on American history and the American West. He lives in Tacoma and Ellensburg and has three children, Jim, Davy, and Caroline.
A Patriot’s History of the United States
FROM COLUMBUS’S GREAT DISCOVERY TO AMERICA’S AGE OF ENTITLEMENT
Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
Larry Schweikart would like to thank Jesse McIntyre and Aaron Sorrentino for their contribution to charts and graphs; and Julia Cupples, Brian Rogan, Andrew Gough, and Danielle Elam for research. Cynthia King performed heroic typing work on crash schedules. The University of Dayton, particularly Deans Paul Morman and Paul Benson, supported this work through a number of grants.
Michael Allen would like to thank his mentor, Dr. W. J. Rorabaugh of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Dr. Bill Richardson, Director of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Tacoma, for their friendship and collegial support for over a decade.
We would both like to thank Mark Smith, David Beito, Brad Birzer, Robert Loewenberg, Jeff Hanichen, David Horowitz, Jonathan Bean, Constantine Gutzman, Burton Folsom Jr., Julius Amin, and Michael Etchison for comments on the manuscript. Ed Knappman and the staff at New England Publishing Associates believed in this book from the beginning and have our undying gratitude. Roger Williams, our agent since Ed’s death, has continued to be a major advocate not only for the book but for the series. Our special thanks to Bernadette Malone, whose efforts made this possible; to Megan Casey, Brooke Carey, and Natalie Horbachevsky for helping in subsequent editions; and to David Freddoso for his ruthless, but much needed, pen. We are especially grateful to Clayton Cramer for a thorough reading of early printings that helped us correct important errors.
Above all, we owe Dave Dougherty our thanks. We met Dave after he posted a review of our book on Amazon. The review was positive, but he noted flaws in the book. We wished to ensure that every conceivable error was removed or corrected, and so we partnered with Dave, who agreed to do a full-scale review of the book. Larry and Mike owe Dave a great debt of gratitude for not only making this book better but for going on to work with us on the Patriot’s History Reader and then coauthoring, with Larry Schweikart, the two-volume Patriot’s History of the Modern World series.
PREFACE TO THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
It seems like only yesterday Mike Allen and I were lamenting the state of U.S. history textbooks and concluding that the solution to the lack of an accurate treatment was to write one ourselves. We began work in the late 1990s, and as we neared completion we knew that our product had little of the look or feel of traditional college or high school textbooks. It wasn’t glossy and it had no photos (or even a map), study guides, or review questions. Moreover, with what we knew was a “conservative” bent—although we thought it merely traditional—it would have a difficult time getting through college textbook committees.
From our earliest discussions, it was clear that A Patriot’s History of the United States would have to make an “end run” around college committees and textbook publishers—that, like so many successful products in American history, we would have to go directly to the consumers. In this case, that was both parents and students, for we knew many students of American history felt the same way we did about the slant of existing books about the American past. We had even resigned ourselves to the likelihood that we’d have to self-publish the book.
But our agent, Ed Knappman, received two offers, one of which was from Sentinel, a new imprint of Penguin USA. We began our working relationship with Adrian Zackheim and our editor at the time, Bernadette Malone, and after much cutting arrived at the final version, a book of over 900 pages. It says something of Sentinel’s early faith in the book that our publisher backed it enthusiastically.
Initially, we had a good rollout with reviews in major newspapers and media outlets, and radio host Rush Limbaugh picked up the book and interviewed Larry Schweikart for his “Limbaugh Letter” in 2004. Slowly, however, a new dynamic took over: homeschoolers began to use the book, then high school and college teachers who were permitted flexibility to select their own books began to adopt it. We would learn about this only through letters or e-mails requesting access to the www.patriotshistoryusa.com website, where we began to offer limited classroom support. Since that time, Mike Allen has handled all of the educational side, corresponding with teachers and parents, and working with educators who developed sample study guides and even an entire test bank for the material. It was a remarkable testament to the free market and “bottom up” processes.
By the second decade of the twenty-first century, A Patriot’s History of the United States had gone through almost twenty separate printings and two editions, and had been joined by The Patriot’s History Reader (Sentinel, 2011), a documents collection coedited by Dave Dougherty, who read and extensively reviewed early editions of A Patriot’s History of the United States. Television host and personality Glenn Beck touted the book with a fervor, propelling it to the New York Times bestseller list, six years after its original publication!
A Patriot’s History of the United States is now in use in more than thirty colleges and universities (that we know of), in some cases as a “side-by-side” comparison with liberal texts but in many cases as the sole required textbook. Hundreds of high school Advanced Placement courses use it, and thousands of homeschoolers have embraced it. Independent academic publishers have developed full curricula for the book, and we have maintained a substantial—and growing—curriculum support base at our website.
In short, ten years ago we wouldn’t have dreamed that our book would have this kind of success. Yet it is reaching exactly the audiences we hoped it would reach and has achieved a mainstream status that we were skeptical of attaining a decade ago.
The tenth anniversary edition features a number of changes and updates. A good historian should always reassess his narrative in light of new evidence, and so we have revised some of our original thoughts. Some of our positions grew stronger, while some needed to be abandoned or modified as new research became available. Among the changes the reader will find:
In addition, while we wished to keep more of the sidebars, we found that in the interest of space in the twentieth century section we simply had to eliminate some of them. The sidebar on FDR’s knowledge—or lack thereof—about the Pearl Harbor attack is now contained in the endnotes.
Of course, new material added since 2006 is included. It is a common problem for history teachers to assume that kids “know everything” that happened since they were born, when in fact even bright, alert students seldom pay attention to world events before they become teenagers, if then. In other words, the old line, “Oh, you know the rest since [fill in a date] because you lived it” has been a weakness in history education. If anything, more recent developments can provide better object lessons because the events are at least somewhat familiar.
We have begun work on a video version of the book with the trailer available at www.rockinthewallstudios.com under “Projects: In Development.” Finally, even though we express our appreciation in the acknowledgments, we would like to again thank Sentinel, Adrian Zackheim, our editors over the years—Bernadette Malone Serton, Brooke Carey, and Natalie Horbachevsky—and our agents, the late Ed Knappman and our current agent, Roger Williams, for believing in the project and shepherding it to success. We hope that yet another decade from now, A Patriot’s History of the United States will be seen as the commonsense story of America and her freedom.
Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
Is America’s past a tale of racism, sexism, and bigotry? Is it the story of the conquest and rape of a continent? Is U.S. history the story of white slave owners who perverted the electoral process for their own interests? Did America start with Columbus’s killing all the Indians, leap to Jim Crow laws and Rockefeller crushing the workers, then finally save itself with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal? The answers, of course, are no, no, no, and NO.
One might never know this, however, by looking at almost any mainstream U.S. history textbook. Having taught American history in one form or another for close to sixty years between us, we are aware that, unfortunately, many students are berated with tales of the Founders as self-interested politicians and slaveholders, of the icons of American industry as robber-baron oppressors, and of every American foreign policy initiative as imperialistic and insensitive. At least Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States honestly represents its Marxist biases in the title!
What is most amazing and refreshing is that the past usually speaks for itself. The evidence is there for telling the great story of the American past honestly—with flaws, absolutely; with shortcomings, most definitely. But we think that an honest evaluation of the history of the United States must begin and end with the recognition that, compared to any other nation, America’s past is a bright and shining light. America was, and is, the city on the hill, the fountain of hope, the beacon of liberty. We utterly reject “My country right or wrong”—what scholar wouldn’t? But in the last thirty years, academics have taken an equally destructive approach: “My country, always wrong!” We reject that too.
Instead, we remain convinced that if the story of America’s past is told fairly, the result cannot be anything but a deepened patriotism, a sense of awe at the obstacles overcome, the passion invested, the blood and tears spilled, and the nation that was built. An honest review of America’s past would note, among other observations, that the same Founders who owned slaves instituted numerous ways—political and intellectual—to ensure that slavery could not survive; that the concern over not just property rights, but all rights, so infused American life that laws often followed the practices of the common folk, rather than dictated to them; that even when the United States used her military power for dubious reasons, the ultimate result was to liberate people and bring a higher standard of living than before; that time and again America’s leaders have willingly shared power with those who had none, whether they were citizens of territories, former slaves, or disenfranchised women. And we could go on.
The reason so many academics miss the real history of America is that they assume that ideas don’t matter and that there is no such thing as virtue. They could not be more wrong. When John D. Rockefeller said, “The common man must have kerosene and he must have it cheap,” Rockefeller was already a wealthy man w...
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