U.S. History Myths

Washington MythsGeorge Washington chopped down a cherry tree. Christopher Columbus discovered North America. Abraham Lincoln owned slaves. While these three statements are false, false, and false, they’re myths still perpetuated, often since childhood, through rumor and misunderstanding. Discover more U.S. history myths, and explanations of their origins, in the following posts we’ve rounded up. You may just learn something.

  • Washington’s Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales—Some of Which are True
    By Mollie Reilly, Washingtonian, August 29, 2011
    This week, Washingtonian magazine corrected misconceptions about why buildings in D.C. were given a height limit in 1899, whether D.C. traffic circles were designed to stop an invading army, the symbolism of D.C.’s equestrian statues, and more.
  • Myths of the American Revolution
    By John Ferling, Smithsonian, January 2010
    American Revolution MythsRead this careful examination of the American Revolution by historian John Ferling and shed beliefs you may have acquired in grade school, but which are “not borne out by the facts.”
  • Lincoln Myths
    The National Park Service has posted a page specifically on Lincoln Memorial Myths to answer questions like, “Is Lincoln buried at the Lincoln Memorial?” The official blog of President Lincoln’s Cottage lists “10 Myths about President Lincoln”: that he owned slaves, that he wrote the Gettysburg Address on an envelope, and so on.

What history myths can you debunk? Let us know in the comments.

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