what is the main thesis of lies my teacher told me?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main thesis is that U.S. History books, no matter how well intentioned, have primarily presented only the "good" side of American history. James Loewen, the author, states that people like Christopher Columbus, and most American Presidents are presented as heroes to the point that they are almost mythological; that theirs was a past so glorious that no mere human could have accomplished all they did; and that we mere mortals have no chance to aspire to such great heights. In fact, Prof. Loewen goes to great length to demonstrate that the men and women who created this country were just that, with their own flaws, weaknesses, and personal demons to overcome. The father of our country, George Washington, was also a slave holder who sold his slaves if they attempted to escape. Woodrow Wilson, of the Fourteen Points and Pulitzer Prize winner was an unrepentant racist who removed all blacks from his administration. And Helen Keller, the poor deaf/blind lady was also a socialist who kept a red flag over her desk. Yet American textbooks overlook these facts to create heroes in a process he calls "heroification," not unlike calcification--by turning them into something they were not.

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