The process of certification can erase people’s problematic behaviors and actions from the course of history and replace one’s real-life story with a list of facts that inflate one’s greatness. Loewen mentions many examples of historical figures, identifying such politicians as George Washington and Woodrow Wilson as people whose biographies were rewritten to fit the stereotype of an American hero (25). The history of George Washington mentions many positive facts about the man, calling him the father of the country and assigning many heroic qualities to him as a result. However, his failure to publicly denounce slavery and his possession of slaves until his death may get ignored in favor of his positive image.
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The lives of individuals not as actively engaged in politics also got affected by people’s desire to erase negative facts from one’s memory. For example, Thomas Edison’s biographies may declare him the greatest inventor of the state. Nevertheless, the facts behind the history of the creation of some devices remain unclear. The credit that Edison often receives for supposedly creating an electric light bulb is often debated as being not entirely accurate. In fact, some historians may go as far as to name other inventors who had similar ideas or presented their concepts earlier than Edison.
Nevertheless, as a renowned inventor and a public figure, Edison might have used his reach and abilities to incorporate the ideas of his workers and other individuals into his final products. Motion the picture camera, also accredited to Edison, has a complicated history of creation as well, being connected to another inventor, Louis Le Prince. Edison’s entrepreneurial skills might have overshadowed his use of others’ ideas.
Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. 2nd ed., Touchstone, 2007.