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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Only Regret the Ignorance of History

We keep being reminded that little or no history is taught in American schools today. This was brought home to me again yesterday, when I watched an episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", hosted by the lovely and gracious Meredith Vieira.

The $2000 question for one contestant was what American was hanged as a spy during the Revolutionary War. Three of the choices were Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, and Ethan Allen; I forget the fourth. The young woman-- incredibly, to me-- did not know the answer, so she first polled the New York studio audience. 49 percent said it was Nathan Hale, and 36 percent said Patrick Henry, evidently recalling the latter's "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech. She then used a second "lifeline" to narrow the choices to two, and-- you guessed it-- the choices were Nathan Hale and Patrick Henry. Finally, she used her "phone-a-friend" lifeline, and her friend, given the two names, guessed that it was Nathan Hale. So, having burned three lifelines, she wound up correctly guessing Nathan Hale.

Of course, this example is not nearly as bad as some of those on the "Jaywalking" segments that Jay Leno does on the "Tonight" show. Leno cleverly uses humor to demonstrate the widespread ignorance of American history and government, especially among young people.

I was about 10 years old when I first heard the story of 21-year-old Nathan Hale, who, just before he was hanged by the British, said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

You see, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and I was a student, American public schools did teach history.


Blogger The Schantz Family said...

Yet another reason to homeschool!

Wed Jun 11, 08:02:00 AM CDT  

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