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Education Organization Says Well-Known AP History Book Has Over 300 Examples Of Liberal Bias


by Neetu Chandak

An education organization says there are over 300 examples of liberal bias in a well known Advanced Placement (AP) history textbook.

The Education and Research Institute (ERI) found errors and examples of liberal bias from pages 502 to 1009 in the latter half of “The American Pageant.

“We have 300, 400 pages of them,” ERI President and former member of Ronald Reagan’s administration Dan Oliver told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a phone call. “Every page has a problem.”

The online critique was written by Phd Burt Folsom.

“As a strongly biased textbook, it has distorted American history for three generations of students,” Folsom wrote on ERI’s website.

The textbook was originally written by Stanford University professor Thomas Bailey in 1956, according to ERI’s. Stanford professor David Kennedy was added as an author for the 1979 edition and beyond. Harvard University professor Lizabeth Cohen was also added as an author shortly after Kennedy’s death in 1980.

The online critique highlighted the phrases that were considered as either misleading or incorrect and then explained why the passages was misleading or had errors. One of the examples cited former President Ronald Reagan as not an intellectual.

“Though [Ronald] Reagan was no intellectual, he drew on the ideas of a small but influential group of thinkers known as ‘neoconservatives,’” the textbook said on page 977.

Folsom found the phrase to belittle Reagan.

“The textbook repeatedly belittles Reagan in this chapter,” Folsom wrote. “He was ‘no intellectual’ and he listened to neoconservatives. What about FDR? He had a ‘C’ average in college, but the textbook treats him as the wisest of men. Reagan was very successful as president, and perhaps the authors are jealous of his success.”

Other examples Folsom points out include that progressives supported a law that would end alcohol sales and it was not just “crusading churches,” former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not just a “master politician” but also increased the national debt by using government subsidies to win voting groups and the textbook wanting to present the point of view of a woman who wants an abortion regarding the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.

“I do not emphasize minor errors, which understandably creep into most histories,” Folsom wrote on ERI’s website. “My focus is on the flawed ideas in The American Pageant that mislead students into thinking that the United States is fundamentally corrupt, and that the world is often worse off because America exists and has so much global influence.”

Oliver is responsible for the The American History Book Project, which aims to point out weaknesses in four U.S. history textbooks.

“What they learn is that the government is great, but the private sector is greedy and selfish,” Oliver told TheDCNF about the problem of liberal bias in history textbooks.

ERI was founded in 1974 and focuses on public policy issues.

Kennedy, Cohen, and the The American Pageant’s most recent publisher Cengage did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment. Cohen was on a planned sabbatical for the 2018-2019 academic year, according to Harvard.

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