Lies My Teacher Told Me Setting & Symbolism

James Loewen
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The Civil War

The great mid-19th-century conflict between the Northern Union and Southern Confederacy is depicted gingerly in high school textbooks of American history because it deals with the taboo topic of race. The build-up to the conflict cannot be honestly told because that requires understanding that the Constitution has allowed slavery to be preserved for decades, and while slavery is not sufficiently profitable to be maintained in the North, it is vital to the Southern cotton-based economy. John Brown's raids, trial, and education polarize North and South; the latter making white supremacy a fundamental value worth going to war for. Succession begins after Abraham Lincoln is elected president, but the textbooks portray the Great Emancipator as a moderate on race whose primary concern is preserving the Union. They overlook or distort his eloquent words that show he understands the conflict as God's punishing the American people...

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This section contains 1,852 words
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