Posted By Norman Gasbarro on April 20, 2016
By 1899, Southerners were beginning to object to histories of the United States that were written by Northerners.
This small note appeared in the Harrisburg Telegraph on 14 October 1899:
The Confederate veterans of Virginia object to a history of the United States written by a Northern man and used as a text book in the Virginia schools. Naturally they object, for he tells the truth concerning the cause of the Civil War, and that is not what the Virginia Confederates want.
By the middle of the 20th Century it was a well-known fact that major textbook publishers produced separate editions of their history books – one edition for use in the North, and one edition for use in the South. Publishers that didn’t respond with the separate editions lost sales to the South.
This manipulation continues to the present where states such as Texas maintain control of textbook content by officially approving what books may be used in the schools. According to Tim Walker, what goes into the curriculum is first decided by the Texas State School Board which is controlled by Texans with a specific religious, political and economic bent. Critics say this results in a curriculum and books which “promote Christian fundamentalism, boost conservative political figures, and force-feed American ‘exceptionalism,’ while downplaying the historical contributions of minorities.”
Rita Haecker, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, believes the year-long review process deteriorated into a political and divisive spectacle. “The circus-like efforts of right-wing board members,” Haecker said, “to impose their own religious and political beliefs on the public school curriculum have been and still are a national embarrassment.”
All this has resulted in the printing of textbooks on demand by publishers who will produce specific editions for any state on request.