I created this list of “American Myths” 25 years ago thinking that some significant part of the people would begin to understand them over time. What seems to be happening is that the country is dividing into those who cling with increasing aggression to these myths as others realize the falseness of them.
1) The American continents were empty environments discovered by European explorers and then filled by European immigrants.
Truth: There were between 20 and 100 million people in North America alone before the Europeans came. In the hundred years between first contact and the beginning of serious examination (c.1500-c.1600) the whole continent was racked with devastating epidemics killing millions, destroying social systems and complex cultures arranged in coalitions of commerce from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Arctic to South America.
2) The American political system was created to offer opportunity for egalitarian democracy.
Truth: The goal…
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