Lies My Teacher Told Me Themes

James Loewen
This Study Guide consists of approximately 60 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Lies My Teacher Told Me.
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Social Archetypes

Perhaps the strongest theme running through Lies My Teacher Told Me is that high school textbooks of American history are riddled with false and falsifying archetypes. Some are relatively benign, like picturing Betsy Ross sewing the first flag. Others, originally intended to be benign, play into something more serious, such as Washington Irving's 1828 claim that no one before Columbus believes the world is not flat. This serves to make Columbus into a "man of vision, energy, resourcefulness, and courage", and supports the dangerous archetype that those who direct social enterprises are more intelligent than those nearer the bottom.

The most dangerous archetype is the overarching one of "American exceptionalism", which ultimately justifies the doctrines of Manifest Destiny and the American Century. Emerging from the architect of European superiority (the common viewpoint of all US textbooks), it begins piously enough at Plymouth Rock and thereafter presents American culture...

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This section contains 1,289 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Lies My Teacher Told Me Study Guide
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