Why the Public School System Teaches Revisionist History

Why the Public School System Teaches Revisionist History

Geoffrey Botkin
January 13, 2010

Anyone who was raised in the prison-like system of government schooling knows that history is a boring mass of confused, causeless, and meaningless names and dates. History has been made practically irrelevant. That generations of American minds have been laid waste by this idea is not accidental. At the end of the 19th century, a group of committed men determined that history must go. Here is why.

The Story of American History Textbooks in the 20th Century

One of the most direct summaries of education in the 20th century was written by American educator Sam Blumenfeld.

“The plain truth is that there has been in this country a deliberate plan to change the nature of American education so that the American people could be easily led into socialism.”1

While it is beyond the scope of this article to trace it completely, the story of the theft of American history starts at the beginning of the 20th century with a cabal of men which was small, but whose objectives were clear and whose unity was strong. In two short decades, 1912-1932, the century was put on a dangerous course by social engineers who were immediately satisfied with the outcomes, especially the mind-slaughter. They were not out to make men better and smarter. They were out to create small men who would accept a new world with another, a modernized, messiah. Their ideas made the horrors of modern statism possible. Complicity of Christians made these ideas widely acceptable. What is important for students of history to know is that these educators had a clear central ambition. They wanted all men to take every thought captive to the demands of the welfare state.2

We pick up the story in 1900. Widespread compulsory government schooling had been in place for one generational cycle — Kindergarten to Kindergarten. John Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed of 1897 had just been distributed to teachers, and it was among these that the energetic attackers of history found willing allies:

“Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.” [emphasis added]

Harold Rugg was part of Dewey’s small circle of social engineers, headquartered at Columbia Teachers College. Rugg stands out as the most effective strategist for the new social order they intended to create through an education cartel. For his purposes, he required a large war chest — the equivalent of multi millions — which he obtained from large family foundations like Rockefeller3 and Carnegie. These foundations had become like a fourth branch of government in their power to create and steer American policy.4

In later years, the U.S. Congress took the initiative to find out how Rugg’s self-appointed educators, backed by these foundations, were so effective at changing the opinions of Americans. U.S. Congressional Reece committee researcher Norman Dodd discovered that the Carnegie Endowment formulated a policy the success of which would be “entirely in the changing of the teaching of the history of the United States.” Dodd's report continues:

[In 1909] they approached . . . five of the then most prominent historians in this country with the proposition that they alter the manner of the teaching of the subject, and they get turned down flatly; so they realized then they must build their own stable of historians, so to speak. . . .

Ultimately, a group of twenty are so assembled, and that becomes the nuclei of the policies which emanate to the American Historical Association. Subsequently, around 1928, the Carnegie Endowment granted to the American Historical Association $400,000 in order to make a study of what the future of this country will probably turn out to be and should be. They came up with a seven-volume set of books, the last volume being a summary and digest of the other six. In the last volume, the answer is as follows:

". . . the future in the United States belongs to collectivism administered with characteristic American efficiency."

And that becomes the policy which is finally picked up and manifests itself in the expression of collectivism all along the line, of which the dividing of this country into regions [is part]...in order that regional government, in turn, be effective, there must be a new Constitution of the United States.5

According to John Taylor Gatto, the records of these foundations reveal seven clear motivations, which line up perfectly with the Columbia Teachers College agenda:

  1. There appears a clear intention to mold people through schooling.
  2. There is a clear intention to eliminate tradition and scholarship.
  3. The net effect of various projects is to create a strong class system verging on caste.
  4. There is a clear intention to reduce mass critical intelligence while supporting infinite specialization.
  5. There is clear intention to weaken parental influence.
  6. There is clear intention to overthrow accepted [theological] custom.
  7. There is striking congruency between the cumulative purposes of GEB projects and . . . Perfectionism, a secular religion aimed at making the perfection of human nature, not salvation or happiness, the purpose of existence.

The agenda of philanthropy, which had so much to do with the schools [and social order] we got, turns out to contain an intensely political component.6

In 1919 Columbia worked with the Soviet government to arrange field trips for American teachers so they could see the glories of Soviet life first hand and better envision the coming collapse of American capitalism. Lenin had said the goal of the proletariat was to establish heaven on earth, and students at Columbia believed he was succeeding.

Tragically, instead of upholding the Biblical theory of history, as more and more church leaders and members were exposed to the new educational curricula in the schools, churches felt the need to conform. That same year, the American Baptist Society published its own book, Samuel Z. Batten's The New World Order, referring to the need for Social Control and a "world federation."

Edward L. Bernays, author of the book Crystallizing Public Opinion, concluded that by 1928 America’s worldview was in complete control of the people who had positioned themselves to shape the minds of schoolchildren.

There is much more to this story than can be related in a lightning-fast overview, but Neal Frey, Senior Textbook Analyst at Education Research Analysts, summed it up nicely in 2006: “No textbook used by the public school system has ever presented accurate American history.”

The bottom line is that historical revisionism is the hammer in the blueprint for societal transformation toward humanistic utopia. The early 20th century saw self-appointed educational "experts" using a centralized system of forced schooling to eliminate meaningful history as they built the framework for a new social order. They understood that the past must be eliminated in order to reshape society and the future on man's terms.

Historical revisionism has captured American education. But why is it wrong?

Historical Revisionism is Rebellion Against God

History is the record of God’s working in time to accomplish His purposes, in particular the exaltation of His Son as sovereign over all things (1 Cor. 15:24-25) and the creation of a people for Himself (Rom. 8:28-30). Therefore, to pervert history’s meaning is to attempt to subvert God’s design.

The legacy of modern statism is a move away from the inheritance of Christendom toward the scientific management of a secular society. The model demanded by Marx and his followers is a rebellious model: an anti-Christian elite rules over the minds, consciences, families, and property of all men. This requires maintaining a dictatorship over the past, present, and future of all men.

God’s providence, which refers to His work in carrying out His plan for history, must be attacked in order to abstract God from reality and leave humanistic man ‘free’ to operate on his own.

Rebellious men hate the past because it is full of providential meaning, and they hate the future because it is unpredictable and uncontrollable by man. Rebellious men also hate time because it is limited and reminds them of their appointment with death, and they hate eternity because they cannot control it or access it on their terms. But since time is inescapable and since what has happened shapes what is and what will be, rebellious men seek to make God and Christ remote from the present and future by abstracting them from the past.

Historical Revisionism is Blasphemy

Webster's dictionary of 1828 defines blasphemy as "an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to him, or attributing to him that which is not agreeable to his nature." As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states it, the third commandment requires "the holy and reverent use of God's names, titles, attributes, ordinances, Word, and works," and forbids "all profaning and abusing of any thing whereby God maketh himself known."7

Historical revision is a preeminent abuse of God’s works, but as we have seen, it is totally necessary for God’s enemies. The stories on which the revisionists must focus their greatest creativity are those in which God’s providential grace is most evident.

Historical Revisionism Robs and Emasculates Man in Order to Place Him Under a New God

Rebellious men seek to make all men passive (emasculated) through ignorance of history. Men without purpose become passive, so the rebellious planners aim at making mankind forget that God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion . . . .”8 Psalm 78 confirms what happens to courage when men forget their history: “The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle. They did not keep God's covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.”9

As he becomes passive and cowardly this emasculated man places himself under the domination of a new god for protection and provision — the social planners and their scientific secular sovereign state.

This is why it has been so necessary for the modern statist governments to deny God’s history and theology. If God’s predestination is ruled out, man’s predestination or total planning can then take its place. When God’s enemies replace history with sociology the purpose of history ceases to be understanding; it becomes an instrument of control.


Revision of American history is rampant. It is treasonous. And it is no accident. For four generations of Americans, the significance of the past has been eliminated in order to reshape society and the future on man's terms.

What should be a Christian's response? Do not bury your head in the sand. Recognize and face the fact that a battle is being waged.

Your children need to learn how to take original sources — not doctored textbooks — and to analyze them Biblically through a grid of good theology and come to their own conclusions about them. Parents can train their children to do this.

Finally, do not despair. God has always had enemies who hate and conspire against Him. The battle has gone on since the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15). Psalm 2 gives us the necessary perspective:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.10

  • 1. Samuel Blumenfeld, “The Dumbing Down of America” in Faith For All of Life, Nov/Dec 2005, p. 20.
  • 2. The antithesis: "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5, NASB).
  • 3. Gatto comments: “The Rockefeller Foundation has been instrumental through the century just passed (along with a few others) in giving us the schools we have. It imported the German research model into college life, elevated service to business and government as the goal of higher education, not teaching. And Rockefeller-financed University of Chicago and Columbia Teachers College have been among the most energetic actors in the lower school tragedy.” — The Underground History of American Education (New York: Oxford Village Press, 2001), p. xxxiv.
  • 4. John Taylor Gatto comments: “Edward Berman, in Harvard Education Review, 49 (1979), puts it more brusquely. Focusing on Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford philanthropies, he concludes that the ‘public rhetoric of disinterested humanitarianism was little more than a façade’ behind which the interests of the political state (not necessarily those of society) ‘have been actively furthered.’ The rise of foundations to key positions in educational policy formation amounted to what Clarence Karier called ‘the development of a fourth branch of government, one that effectively represented the interests of American corporate wealth.’” — Underground History, p. 252.
  • 5. Norman Dodd, Transcript of Public Hearing - Joint Committee on Regional Government - September 26, 1978, Edwardsville, Illinois, pp. 51-61, republished at sweetliberty.org: http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/regionalism/dodd.htm.
  • 6. Gatto, Underground History, p. 251.
  • 7. Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 54.
  • 8. Genesis 1:28, KJV.
  • 9. Psalm 78:9-11, ESV; emphasis added.
  • 10. Psalm 2:1-4, ESV; emphasis added.

About the Author

Geoffrey Botkin is a cultural analyst, political consultant, veteran filmmaker, husband, and father. He currently serves as a senior consultant to the Western Conservatory of the Arts & Sciences.


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