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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

The American Revolution in Social Studies Textbooks

Interpretations of the American Revolution presented in United States social studies textbooks since 1895 to the present, provide a venue of analysis for examining social filters of historians reconstructing the causes of the revolution. Using mass production, publishers translate versions of scholarly ideas to the public through the American education system via the textbook. Reviewing the scholarly literature of historians such as George Bancroft, Charles M. Andrews, Gordon Wood, and Charles Beard demonstrates a projection of contemporary paradigms on past events. This paper argues that historians responsible for developing the historiography of the American Revolution, by serving as consults and references engaged in the collaborative efforts of publishing social studies textbooks for public education, impose contemporary frameworks that shape society’s ideological understanding of the past and present. I intend to demonstrate this link by analyzing three phenomena; the ideologies and contexts of the mentioned historians, the extent to which their material is either implicitly or explicitly inculcated into the curriculum, and the subtle messages of social studies textbooks dating from 1895 to 2003.

Presenter: Margaret Broker (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 217 Hartwell
Time: 2:45 pm (Session IV)