5 Mistakes Americans Keep Making About US History

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American history is full of important events and personalities that have shaped the nation’s identity. Despite nearly every high school student being required to take American History, there are some facts and myths that people commonly get wrong. Here are five US history facts that people often misunderstand:

The Pilgrims did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving

While Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated holiday in the United States, the popular belief that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving is not entirely accurate. Historians suggest that the first Thanksgiving actually took place in 1621 between the Wampanoag Native Americans and the English colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims did not refer to this event as Thanksgiving.

Christopher Columbus did not discover America

Christopher Columbus is often credited with discovering America, but this is incorrect. Leif Erikson, a Viking explorer, is believed to have traveled to North America around 1000 AD, nearly 500 years before Columbus’s voyage. Additionally, there were already indigenous people living in the Americas when Columbus arrived.

The American Revolution was not fought over taxes

Contrary to popular belief, the American Revolution was not fought over taxes. It was primarily fought over the lack of representation in the British Parliament and the colonists’ desire for self-government. Taxation without representation was just one of the many grievances that the colonists had against the British government.

Abraham Lincoln did not free all slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is often viewed as the act that freed all slaves in the United States. However, this is not entirely true. The proclamation only applied to slaves in the Confederate states that had seceded from the Union. Slaves in the border states that remained loyal to the Union were not freed until the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.

The Wild West was not as violent as it is often portrayed

The Wild West, a period of American history characterized by frontier expansion and lawlessness, is often portrayed as a time of constant violence and gunfights. However, crime rates in many frontier towns were actually lower than in urban areas on the East Coast. Additionally, the image of cowboys and outlaws engaging in gunfights is largely a Hollywood creation.

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