Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American History Is Boring…

We need new books!

I always thought history was boring.  Maybe it’s the way they taught it?  All we got were just the facts, cut and dry and too many of them.  And, they wanted us to memorized dates too.  My husband loves history and can’t seem to get enough of it.  I say what’s the point of learning history, it’s over and done with and we have moved on. My mother always said that if they would just put American History to music, in lyrics, we would all know everything.  I think that was a good idea, but no one ever took her up on it.

My idea is a little different. How about if they sprinkle some true scandals in that history?  Lord knows there were plenty of them.  Of course we all know about John Edwards and Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy, but there were so many more that our history books left out!  I had a history professor in college who was supposed to be teaching us American History, but her specialty was the Civil War, somehow we always got back on that topic no matter what we were discussing. However, she also managed to add the appropriate scandals to every period we covered and they tended to wake me up. She would tell us things that never made to our exam questions, like:

Thomas Jefferson had quite a few stories to peek my interest.  He was somewhat of a womanizer.  And then there was Sally Hemings, his slave and “mistress” with whom he had fathered six children.

President Andrew Jackson was a bigamist.  He married a woman named Rachel Donelson in 1791, thinking she was divorced, but she wasn’t. Her husband charged her with adultery and they could not remarry until 1794.

Grover Cleveland had an affair with a woman named Maria C. Halpin, that produced a son, Oscar Folsom Cleveland.  Cleveland had the baby taken from it’s mother and placed him in an orphanage saying she wasn’t fit to care for him. Then, he had Maria placed in a lunatic asylum. After an evaluation it was determined she was not insane and was placed there by an abuse of political power.

Warren G. Harding was another famous womanizing president.  He had two ongoing affairs and one of them produced a child who he supported, Elizabeth Ann.  Needless to say, Warren’s wife was not very happy.

I have to say I would have had a much easier time remembering these pieces of history than the “Teapot Dome Scandal,” to which I say, “so what, who cares.”

Maybe someone needs to rewrite the history books in a way that makes them more reader friendly and interesting.  I am not saying they should make up scandals to enhance our reading pleasure, but just report them, as they do all the other factual information of the times.  We have been gypped of chunks of history since the first time we opened a book.  Who were the morality editors who felt that leaving out historical facts did justice to the history we read?  


  1. Oooh! I agree... so much easier to remember AND more entertaining for students.

    Erin ~ Indiana

    P.S. Keep 'em coming; I love your blog!

  2. Hi Erin! So glad you enjoy the blog, I love writing it. :)