War on Terror

What Newly Eligible Voters Learned in High School: PATRIOT Act Uncontroversial, Iraq Had WMDs

Conor Friedersdorf examines a typical high school text book used between 2003 and 2008


ome time ago, I got curious about what the high school kids are reading these days in history class. A quick consultation with a few teacher friends led me to The American Vision by Professors Joyce Appleby, Alan Brinkley, Albert Broussard, James McPhereson, and Donald Ritchie. It's one of the most popular American history textbooks aimed at eleventh grade students. As I understand it, the 2003 copy I hold in my hands would've been used in a typical classroom for five to eight years. In other words, this is the American history book that shaped a lot of the young people who've recently joined the ranks of adult society, or at least eligible voters.

How have they been taught our shared past?