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Article
Trends in the Portrayal of the Puritans Found In American History Textbooks from the 1870s through the 1990s As Influenced By Secular Educational Philosophy
Faculty Dissertations
  • James A. Wicks, Liberty University
Publication Date
3-1-2005
Degree Granted
Ed.D
Institution Granting Degree
Pensacola Christian College
Keywords
  • Puritans,
  • historical revisionism,
  • American history textbooks,
  • traditional educational philosophy,
  • secular educational philosophy,
  • biblical worldview,
  • secular worldview,
  • Christian heritage
Abstract

There has been a movement to exclude a Biblical worldview from high school American history textbooks exchanging it for a secular worldview through the use of historical revisionism. Available literature failed to adequately address the impact of revisionism within the pages of American history textbooks specifically concerning the portrayal of the American Puritans. Therefore, an analysis of American history textbooks beginning in the 1870s through the 1990s was necessary to demonstrate the existence of historical revisionism regarding the treatment of the American Puritans and whether a trend existed to revise their place in American history textbooks over the past two centuries.

Sixty-five high school American history textbooks were examined in this analysis, five from each decade covering the 1870s to the 1990s. Three research questions were asked: What is an appropriate historical view of the Puritans? What are the changes that have occurred in the treatment of the Puritans over the time span from the earliest high school American history textbooks until the end of the twentieth century? And what is the impact of secular education (revisionism) on the portrayal of the Puritans? An analysis document also directed the examination of each textbook and was validated by the work of Perry Miller and United States History: Heritage of Freedom published by A Beka Book.

Findings were presented that illustrated trends of secular (progressive) revisionism in twenty-seven categories and topics. The most prominent means of revising the story of the Puritans was the elimination of material concerning their beliefs and practices. The removal of this history served to diminish the presence of a Biblical worldview while promulgating an alternate secular worldview. Implications of this trend analysis were outlined and suggestions made for Christian education.

Historical revisionism is a by-product of secular educational philosophy. In this study of sixty-five high school American history textbooks it was evident that historical revisionism had influenced the treatment of the Puritans. The result of this revisionism was biased, superficial textbooks promoting ignorance of America’s rich Christian heritage.

Citation Information
James A. Wicks. "Trends in the Portrayal of the Puritans Found In American History Textbooks from the 1870s through the 1990s As Influenced By Secular Educational Philosophy" (2005)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_wicks/2/