Here is the thirteenth article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is Mitch Daniels for using his position to try to censor what Americans are allowed to learn, at the college level, no less!
In his groundbreaking work A People's History of the United States, a nti-war[sic] activist and historian Howard Zinn’s reframed the glorified slant on U.S. history provided by most textbooks and accounts. His works sparked a generation of historical reflection and brought to light the untold, often unflattering truths about our national past. When Zinn passed away in 2010, his New York Times obituary quoted a book review by historian Eric Foner: “Historians may well view [ A People’s History of the United States] as a step toward a coherent new version of American history.”
But not everyone is a fan of Zinn's work. Indiana’s former governor Mitch Daniels — currently the president of Purdue University — attempted to censor Zinn’s legacy while in office, according an article published by the Associated Press last week. Via a Freedom of Information Act request, AP obtained emails in which Daniels asked classrooms in the state to ban Zinn’s works and “clean up” its college curriculum.
In the e-mail records AP released, Daniels requested that public schools refrain from using Zinn’s work in their curriculum. He also tried to initate a statewide investigation aimed at identifying similar works and disqualifying them from being considered “credit-worthy.”… [emphasis added]
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I consider myself a student of history, because I consider it imperative to learn from, rather than repeat it. In my opinion, Zinn’s A People’s History of the Unites States is the single most significant historical work we have, because it concentrates on what actually happened, instead of treating myth as fact. Whether or not one agrees with Zinn’s perspective is up to each individual, but college level students are paying for the opportunity to learn different sides of issues and make their own decisions.
For Mitch Daniels to attempt to make the decision for them by censoring what they are allowed to learn is a typical response from Republicans, when confronted with facts that do not goose-step with their propaganda. I’m sure they won’t even try to deny Daniels. After all, he was the Republican Governor of Indiana.