A Brief History
On July 24, 1814, British forces under Phineas Riall marched to the Niagara River to halt an American force from invading Canada. The War of 1812 is misunderstood by many Americans, with most Americans assuming the US won the war, when the truth is much more like a tie at best. The British never intended to conquer the US, as they were busy with Napoleon and bigger issues than the US. The war was more about a punitive expedition by the British. The final battle, after the war was over, in New Orleans was an American victory which gives the impression we won. History is misunderstood by many people, sometimes by the masses and sometimes even by the people that write the school books. Here we list a sequel to yesterday’s 10 such mistakes, myths, and misunderstandings.
10. Rosa Parks Was Tired and Did not Give Up Her Seat.
Parks’s actions by refusing to move to the back of the bus was not some sort of spontaneous last straw type action because she was tired that day. She was a civil rights activist and the event was staged to make it a cause celebre, deliberately provoking a federal lawsuit and national attention to racial segregation in the South.
9. Cavemen Were Stupid Brutes.
They may have been brutes, but hardly stupid. Neanderthal man had a brain larger than modern humans. Back in those days, the gene pool could not be watered down by substandard intellect persons surviving and reproducing. In modern times, people with physical and mental deficiencies are protected by society and often produce more children than people of the highest intellect, creating a slow, general decline in the average intelligence in the gene pool. Do not confuse more knowledge with greater brainpower. Cavemen were plenty smart. They survived under incredibly harsh conditions.
8. Otis Invented the Elevator.
Elisha Otis, inventor of a safety device in 1854 to keep elevator cars from free falling if the cable broke, was the founder of Otis Elevator Company. He did not, however, invent the elevator. Forms of the elevator were around for hundreds if not thousands of years. The Otis “Safety Elevator” was the ticket for steel framed buildings that were reaching multi-story heights in the 1800’s and were a big success.
7. Thomas Crapper Invented the Flush Toilet.
Although Crapper had a plumbing company and invented a variety of devices making toilets better, he did not invent the flush toilet. Ancient people a few thousand years ago had toilets with water washing away the waste, as did the Romans. The more modern variety began to appear in 1596 with an invention by John Harrington and an “S” trap version by Alexander Cummings in 1775 became popular. In 1778 Joseph Bramah patented an improved model with a water closet and flap valve and George Jennings continued developments in the mid 19th Century. Crapper was one of many who contributed improvements, but did not invent flush toilets.
6. The Soviets Were So Clever Their Rifles Could Use US Ammo but not the Reverse.
This myth is heard over and over in the military, that the AK-47 can use US 7.62 mm caliber ammunition (M-14 rifle and medium machine gun fodder), but that the US weapons could not use the Soviet 7.62 X 39 mm ammunition. This is false! Despite what you may have heard over and over, the AK-47 was invented (as was its ammo) long before NATO went to the 7.62 X 51 mm standard round. The US/NATO rounds are ½ inch longer than the AK rounds, meaning the US ammo will not properly fit the rifle magazines nor chamber properly. The NATO ammo is also higher pressure and cannot be safely used in Soviet weapons.
5. Ancient Ships Were Rowed By Slaves in Chains.
The truth is, the overwhelming majority of rowers in the galley were free men performing a job like any other. They also were not whipped and chained as depicted in the movies. At time of great need for manpower, it was possible slaves were used in the galley, but their efforts would earn them their freedom. The galley was not a form of life in prison or capital punishment as popularly depicted.
4. The Chinese Invented Gunpowder, but Not Firearms.
It appears the Chinese invented gunpowder while attempting to make an immortality drug back in the 9th Century. The common myth is that Chinese then used the black powder in fireworks, while it took Europeans to realize the military potential of gunpowder and invent firearms. In reality, the Chinese quickly grasped the potential of gunpowder used in bombs (grenades) and in launching projectiles, and they made such weapons shortly after gunpowder appeared. (First written formula appearing in the 11th Century.) Invading Mongols adapted the technology and their travels and invasions led to the spread of gunpowder and firearms to India, the Middle East, and to Europe.
3. The Gospels were Written by Apostles.
Many people, if not most, assume the gospels were written by the Apostles of Christ. The gospels were written by men that were not present at the events described, although John claims to have been a disciple. Scholars say that John having been a disciple is highly unlikely and do not take the claim seriously. Plus, the gospels have inconsistencies between them (such as the Romans placing a “scarlet cloak” on Jesus or a “purple cloak,” or if the Lord‘s Prayer was given to a throng at the Sermon on the Mount or just to the disciples alone). There are dozens of such contradictions. It is amazing how many avowed Christians do not know these things. The Gospel of John, especially differs from the other 3. Plus, the gospels were written in Greek, while the language of Jesus and the Apostles was Aramaic. (How many Christians believe the original Gospels were written in Latin or Hebrew? A lot.)
2. The Alamo Was Defended by American Patriots Defending Their Rights.
Mexico had welcomed American settlers to Texas. Mexico, however, had already outlawed slavery and the Americans in Texas insisted on owning slaves, which was the issue fought about at the Alamo. How many people do you know that realize that? Additionally, the Alamo is portrayed as having been fought to the last man, every person fighting to the death. Actually, some survived to be captured and were executed afterwards.
1. The Civil War Was About “States’ Rights.”
You hear over and over that the US Civil War was not about slavery, but “states’ rights.” What is neglected to be mentioned is that the only 2 such “rights” at issue are the right to have slaves and the right to secede from the union. Seriously, the war was fought about slavery. Slave states would not have seceded except for this issue. To pretend otherwise is misleading and a lie.
Question for students (and subscribers): Do we need yet another list? Tell us what you think in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please read…
Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. Atria Books, 2007.