20 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About History

Thought Catalog

Did you ever read Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen? If not, you should. It’s a book full of fascinating insights into the sides of history we’re never allowed to see, a warts-and-all look at the flaws that make history interesting. With Loewen in mind, I concocted a list of 20 things most Americans don’t know about history. (I imagine many people in general don’t know these things, as a 2008 poll showed that two-thirds of British teens thought King Arthur was real; another half thought Richard the Lionheart was fictional.) Some of these facts are Loewen-isms, others are well-documented elsewhere.

History is something that’s best shared with others, debated and endlessly discussed. What we think we understand today we often find out know nothing about tomorrow. That’s what gives history power. It’s alive.

1. Thanksgiving wasn’t originally intended to be a holiday celebrating multi-cultural togetherness, the ritual…

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