Lies My Teacher Told Me - Chapter 6, Summary & Analysis

James Loewen
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Chapter 6, Summary and Analysis

"John Brown and Abraham Lincoln: The Invisibility of Antiracism in American History Textbooks" examines how the radical idealism is, like racism, ignored by authors dedicated to the thesis that the victory of "right" in the US is foreordained rather than subject to contingency. The central figure in the abolitionist movement, John Brown, is depicted in textbooks from 1890 to 1970 as fanatic and/or insane, a view three modern texts continue. Seven others render him too bland to be a hero. No textbook shows sympathy for his ideals or actions.

In 1856, Brown retaliates in Pottawatomie, Kansas, for the destruction of a free-soil Lawrence, Kansas, by proslavery "ruffians"; then in 1859, he leads an attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Primary sources show relatives and friends, wishing to spare his life, suggesting an insanity defense at Brown's treason trial, but no one...

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