Teaching History Based on Facts, Not Politics

Texas Mexican American Studies

Educators in the United States continue to debate the content of History textbooks and classroom discussions. Two recent examples illustrate the struggle in Texas, where the state board of education has an out-sized role in influencing textbooks across the USA.

Even today, mainstream textbooks about US History either ignore facts or distort the truth, and many use “USA exceptionalism” as justification for past atrocities. Some new textbooks are even bankrolled by fringe groups determined to pursue a political agenda in education.

Fortunately, there is hope. On Nov. 16, 2016, the Texas State Board of Education voted 14-0 to reject a textbook promoted by a politically conservative former member of the board. You can click here http://bit.ly/2g1bMa1 to read the full story, and here’s an excerpt:

“Scholars who looked at the text were left aghast. The cover photo, taken from Flickr, featured a bare-chested indigenous man in full-colored headdress ― a bizarre choice to represent people who generally wear shirts. The writers…had no expertise in the subject and were unknown to academics in the field. Scholars of Mexican-American history and cultural studies identified 141 errors in the shoddily produced book. Perhaps most glaringly, the authors claimed that the Chicano movement ‘opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.’”

Another perspective on what Texas has been teaching for decades comes from a recent 5-star review by a former Texan of a new book titled Abraham Lincoln and Mexico. The biography/ history of Lincoln’s support for Mexico uses archival documents to set the record straight about events before, during, and after the Mexican-American War. You can click here http://amzn.to/2gJFJzL to read the full review, and here’s an excerpt.

“This book really opened my eyes. The Texas history I was taught when I went to college in Texas was in retrospect terribly biased and abridged from actual events. The author has a remarkably unbiased, even-handed view of history. His narrative is carefully researched with an eye to ferret out the truth, not what we want to hear. He does not advocate a ‘great man’ theory nor a ‘peoples’ history’ theory. He succeeds in proving his thesis that ordinary men and women are sometimes called to greatness. If you have any interest in Lincoln, Texas or Mexican history, I urge you to read this book.”

Misinformation can be dangerous, especially in the high school curricula, and could result in the next generation being misinformed or even dangerously prejudiced. Both examples show why it’s important for high schools and colleges to teach factually accurate information about U.S. History.

That’s why the Lincoln and Mexico Project is trying to get the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico into schools across the USA as supplemental classroom material. We hope you will help by donating a copy to your local school or library. Thank you.

Statues and rave reviews

lincolntijuana-crop-bkp_p18bci51e2vg61r7k1r88omc1j8n4Mexico has several statues honoring Abraham Lincoln in parks across the country. This one is in Tijuana, Baja California, on the third traffic circle of Paseo De Las Heroes

Readers and educators continue to give rave reviews to Abraham Lincoln and Mexico by historian/ educator Michael Hogan. Here are excerpts from two of the latest 5-star reviews on Amazon:

I was suckled on the teat of misinformation about manifest destiny. I remember the nun telling us that it was ‘God’s will’ that the US took Mexico’s territory. In spite of a ‘privileged’ education, I didn’t begin to get the truth about the US invasion of Mexico until I found that Henry David Thoreau went to jail as a war protester and I went off on a hunt for the truth. I was amazed at the remote details that Dr. Hogan wove into the story, and flabbergasted that neither victor nor vanquished gave proper credit to the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ for their heroic service to Mexico.

Abraham Lincoln is a hero in Mexico for sure. My Mexican wife thinks he is a hero because he freed the slaves in the US. Little does she know of the debt Mexico has to Lincoln in the defeat of the French. Thank you, Dr. Hogan, for your masterful work.” –Miles Beacom, Tijuana, Mexico (Click here to see the full review.)

Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is an informative tome for scholar and layperson with an interest in American history; for inquiring minds, and those wishing a more analytical view of this historical period, and on par with Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States.

It should be included in all US history and presidential history college courses if, for no other reason, than to learn ‘the rest of the story.’ –Ren Drake Hill, author and former professor, College of the Canyons (Click here to see the full review.)

What are high schools teaching about U.S. History?


Image from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History AP US History Study Guide Period 5_ 1844-1877.html

Two years ago, changes in the Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum triggered nationwide criticism from conservatives in education and politics. Now the American Historical Association (AHA) is convening a roundtable in early January to address the controversy.

The two-year running battle for curriculum control affects nearly a half million students in APUSH courses, and spills over into college curricula. But it could also impact the four million 11th grade students required to take U.S. History every year. You can click here to see the entire AHA article announcing the roundtable discussion and discussing the two-year controversy. Meanwhile, here is a key excerpt from the AHA article announcing the roundtable discussion.

The historical profession has done very little since 2014 to grapple with the central issues of the controversy from the standpoint of teaching history, and that is what this panel intends to do. The new framework symbolizes a changing landscape in history education. Critics of the framework have focused on allegedly “left wing” content. Yet the framework might be most notable for its new approach to the intersection of pedagogy and content, which is of tremendous importance to the community of historians.

After all, the impact of the controversy over the new framework extends beyond history as taught in high schools. Due to the ubiquity of the APUSH class, debate over the AP framework also has repercussions for historians and history teachers at the university level. Most universities provide some form of credit for a “passing” score on the APUSH exam, which means that university students throughout the nation receive part of their university education in the APUSH course. And, of course, the intent of the APUSH class is to mirror the traditional US history course taught in universities and community colleges.

Historian/ educator Michael Hogan has taught APUSH courses for years, and now runs the AP Capstone program at the prestigious American School Foundation of Guadalajara. His latest book titled Abraham Lincoln and Mexico originated in his 2012-2013 APUSH classroom after students wanted to learn more about Lincoln’s views about Mexico than the standard textbooks offered. The new book is designed to supplement classroom material, and uses archival documents to examine the subject.

Dr. Hogan’s new  book forms the basis for the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP), and he has a keen interest in the forthcoming roundtable discussion. We hope you will share this post about the roundtable discussion with others interested in the future of the U.S. history curriculum. And we hope you will also click to sign up and follow our blog, and perhaps help spread the word by sharing the link to the project. Thank you.

Must Read for Any Student Studying US History


Historian/ educator Michael Hogan (l) meets with Advanced Placement educator Liam O’Hara regarding Hogan’s award-winning book being used as supplemental classroom material

Around the world, more than 400,000 students take the Advanced Placement US History exam each year, making it one of the most popular AP exams. The new book examining Abraham Lincoln’s support for Mexico originated in an AP US History classroom, and the book has received very positive feedback from educators and students in both the USA and Mexico.

If you’re an educator interested in learning more about how to use Abraham Lincoln and Mexico as supplemental classroom material, just send an email to historian / educator Michael Hogan who wrote the book. His email is michael.hogan@asfg.edu.mx, and his website is www.drmichaelhogan.com. And ask him about a special discount price from his USA publisher for educators and students.

Here’s some feedback from one AP teacher:Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is a great read. As an AP teacher, I believe that books like these are worth their weight in gold. Michael Hogan has not only broken ground on undiscovered sources covering Lincoln’s relationship with Mexico, but has also generously annexed the sources in their entirety. It is a godsend for history teachers who are constantly looking for new material and ways to challenge their students’ analytical skills.” Liam O’Hara, Chair, Department of History and Social Studies, American School Foundation of Guadalajara, A.C.

And here’s some great feedback by a former AP student in an Amazon review: “As a Hispanic student from Mexico I remember taking Advanced Placement U.S. History during my junior year of high-school. When we finally got to study the different causes and consequences of the Civil War, I remember always looking forward to hearing about Lincoln and how he managed to resolve so many different political dilemmas under very precarious circumstances. However, the textbook that I read never mentioned some sort of relationship between Lincoln and Mexico. The only mention of Lincoln having something to do with Mexico was his famous Spot Resolutions in the spring of 1846.

That is why this new insight provided by Dr. Michael Hogan was so shocking and delightfully surprising for me. It revealed new facts about Lincoln’s involvement in Mexican politics which I was unaware of. I would’ve wished to have read this book as a supplement while I was taking the course back in high-school. Apart from all the great historical wisdom that this book has to offer, the book itself is clearly well organized and the research conducted by Dr. Hogan is superb. There are supporting real-life documents for every claim made and if you get the e-book version as I did, it’s very easy to navigate around the documents.

Overall, a must read for any student that is currently studying U.S. history and is a fan of Abraham Lincoln especially if you live in Mexico and want to know more about how this courageous president played a crucial role in Mexican politics.”

You can click here to read the full 5-star review on Amazon.

Lincoln presidential library adds Abraham Lincoln and Mexico

2013-08-04_abrahamlincoln_presidentiallibrary_and_museumA growing number of libraries across the country are adding Abraham Lincoln and Mexico to their collections. A dozen libraries in the USA received shipments of the book shortly after its release in September 2016, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. According to Wikipedia, since its opening in April 2005, the visitor attraction has ranked as America’s most visited state-controlled presidential museum.

Other libraries that received shipments of the new book in September and October include Brown University, Georgetown University, Gettysburg College, Harvard, Lincoln Memorial University, MIT, Salve Regina University, Tulane University, University of Arizona, and the US Military Academy.

The first public library to add the book was in Newport, RI, and we’re trying to expand to other libraries. Public libraries can order copies via the Ingram distribution system. You can jump start the ordering process by showing your library card and asking them to order a copy so you can read it. The ISBN is 9780985774493. Let’s do it!

If you want to be a hero at your local public library, here’s how you can help. Public libraries welcome contributions of new books from library patrons, because some libraries have tight budgets. Just get a copy of the book from your local Barnes & Noble or an independent bookstore (or from Amazon), and take it to your local library front desk.

If you contribute a book to a library, try to get a photo with you and the librarian and post it on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MexicoLincoln/?fref=ts. Thanks!