Beginning this fall, over five million public school students in Texas will be given new history textbooks. The new books whitewash the true cause of the Civil War (slavery), and completely ignore Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan.
According to the new books, the Civil War was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights, and slavery.” The Washington Post noted that the reasons were purposely written in that order to make slavery appear as a secondary cause of the conflict. Pat Hardy, a Republican member of the Texas board of education, said slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War.” “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery,” said Hardy. “No. It was over states’ rights.”
Texas Republicans are cherry-picking which parts of Civil War history that students must study. They have to read Jefferson Davis’ inauguration speech, which doesn’t mention anything about slavery. However, Davis’ vice president, Alexander Stephens, delivered a speech explaining how slavery was the “cornerstone” of the Confederate government’s cause. Students aren’t required to read Stephens’ speech.
Thankfully, not all Texas Republicans support such a terrible treatment of American history and education. “I’m of the view that the history of slavery and civil rights are dominant elements of our history and have shaped who we are today,” said Rod Paige, former education secretary under President George W. Bush. “We may not like our history, but it’s history.”
It’s bad when a former official from the last Bush administration can be reasonable. Five million students are now going to learn false history as Republican revisionists are cheapening the education of millions of kids.