Founding Myths Esssay

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, United States Pages: 3 (1174 words) Published: April 18, 2006

Founding Myths:
The Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past

Most of the historical events that are taught today are merely fabrications of what really happened many years ago. These fabrications soon turn into myths because they are continually passed on incorrectly, but yet people still believe them to be true. Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past is filled with many historical happenings that people believe are true, and the actuality of what really happened as well. Ray Raphael, the author of the book, believes "there are three main reasons [why we cling to these myths], thoroughly intertwined: they give us a collective identity, they make good stories, and we think they are patriotic"5). The fact that people would rather believe the myths rather than reality shows that we as Americans would much rather just go on believing that we are more patriotic than we actually are. In fact, "even if they [the myths] don't tell true history, these imaginings work as stories. Much of what we think of as ‘history' is driven not by facts but by these narrative demands"(5). America's extreme pride in the United States is what perpetuates people to embellish the actual events and though this seems harmless, it forces people learning about America's past to believe the fallacies instead of the truth. While this seems like a positive impact to make our country appear better, in actuality it is negative because people aren't hearing of the truth of America's past historical events.

The story of the shot heard ‘round the world is one of the most well known myths. "At dawn in Lexington on April 19, 1775, several hundred British Regulars, in full battle formation, opened fire on local militiamen. When the smoke had cleared, eight of the sleep-eyed farmers who had been rousted in the middle of the night lay dead on the town green" (67). The myth is that the first shot fired by the Redcoats was the start of the Revolution. In reality, "the...
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