Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lies You Were Fed in School, and Gladly Swallowed


Everyone knows that English Is The Official Language of the United States

Well,  No it isn't.
You may think it is, and argue with me, but you’d be wrong.  Don't put your money on English being the official language and here's why...

The United States has never claimed an “official” language although there have been several proposals to make English the national language in the form of amendments to immigration reform bills, but none of these bills have become law with the amendment intact.

Don't worry.  While it may not be the official language, it is spoken by approximately 82% of the people, with a total of 96% claiming speak it “well” or “very well”.  This means it probably won't be lost or forgotten any time soon.

Something you also probably didn't know is that German was once considered a possible choice for an official language of the United States.  You may now tell your teachers "Sie sind falsch!"

There Are Fifty States

No, there aren't.

Actually, the United States is made up of 46 States, 6 Commonwealths, and 1 District. The Commonwealths are...

  1. Virginia
  2. Kentucky
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Puerto Ricoand
  6. the Northern Marianas Islands.  
While in the 17th century, there existed a huge difference between a Commonwealth and a State, by today's standards there is little difference.  In the days of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes (17th century), being a commonwealth meant being an organized political community.  Today, the exact meaning of being a commonwealth varies, for Puerto Rico and Northern Marianas Islands, "commonwealth" also means a political unit having local autonomy but voluntarily united with the United States.
By the way – Spanish is the "official" language of Puerto Rico and while they speak English in the North Marianas Islands, you will also hear Chinese, Tagalog, Chammoro, and Carolinian.

We gained our Independence from England on July 4, 1776

Hold the fireworks! As nearly everyone knows, America’s founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Well, not exactly.

Some of them signed it on July 4th, and it was adopted on July 4th.  But there was a war going on and it was summer, so that date wasn’t convenient for everybody.  It was completely signed by August 2nd, though.  If you learn anything from all of this, I hope it will be that just because you write something and a bunch of guys sign it, this doesn't mean its done with.  America still didn’t have its Independence from England.  The Declaration just told England they did, but England didn’t agree.  The war raged on for another seven years before independence from England was finally granted on September 3, 1783.  On that day, Britain’s George III and US leaders signed the Definitive Treaty of Peace.

Now you know that you should be shooting off bottle rockets and lighting firecrackers in September, not July!

We were all taught that the Pilgrims Landed At Plymouth Rock

The story about the rock isn't true!

It was just a public relations stunt pulled off by Plymouth locals to attract attention.

The "Plymouth Rock" legend rests entirely on the testimony of Thomas Faunce, a then ninety-five year old man, who told the story more than a century after theMayflower landed. Unfortunately, not too many people ever heard how we came by the story of Plymouth Rock.  We’ve all just gone merrily along repeating the same old story as if it’s true when it’s not. Beyond this, the Pilgrims didn’t land in Plymouth, they first made landfall at Provincetown.  Of course, the people of Plymouth stick by their tradition and tour guides still insist that Plymouth Rock is the spot where it all began.

Christopher Columbus Discovered America And That The Earth Is Round

Christopher Columbus didn’t find America, and he didn’t think the world was round, either.  He knew it, along with everyone else.  A
bout 1500 years before Columbus, the Ancient Greeks had already figured this out.  Columbus got to El Salvador because he made a mistake.  He thought you could reach India by going West and it would be a shorter trip.  He promoted this idea to Spain, who hated everybody at the time, by telling them that they could get more money for guns if they let him go.  So they did just that.  Columbus then landed in the Caribbean thinking he was in India... oops.  As for discovering America, of course, the American Indians were here, first.  So were the Vikings, possibly the real Indians, the Chinese, and some Phoenicians just to name a few.  Today, there is the city of Columbus in every single state and we have a national holiday named after this guy who was actually a failure.

I need to screw up more often!

Now, head right back to school after your long weekend and rewrite your textbooks!

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