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INFO VINE * Debunking 50 American History Myths That Just Aren't True *

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Post by Paul Sun 04 Feb 2024, 6:02 am

Debunking 50 American History Myths That Just Aren't True

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Photo Courtesy: [Wonder Why/Creative Commons]
1. The Truth Behind 50 Well Known American History Myths.
2. 50 American History Myths Solved.
3. 50 Untrue American History Truths That Sound True.
4. The Absolute Truth Behind 50 Popular American History Myths.
5. 50 Popular American History Myths That Just Aren't True.
6. The Top 50 American History Truths Examined And Debunked.
7. 50 Of The Most Extraordinary American History Truths That Americans Still Believe Today.
8. Historical American Myths That Are Still Believed Today.
9. 50 American History Myths You Might Think Are True.
10. 50 Of The Most Believed American History Myths Debunked.

Throughout American history, many myths have been taught to be accurate when they aren’t. There are also many stories that Americans choose to believe despite the evidence that points towards the contrary. Over recent years many of the common myths in US history have begun to be debunked by historians and experts alike. It’s become clear that much of America’s history that we may think of is true is actually addled with discrepancies, misconceptions, and falsities. From Thomas Edison being the first-ever person to invent the lightbulb to the belief that slavery only ever occurred in the South, these myths will be examined and reassessed to discern the truth from the lie. 

Let us have a look at 50 of the greatest myths in American history.

The Signing Of the American Declaration Of Independence Occurred On July 4th, 1776

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Photo Courtesy: [Jim Trodel/Creative Commons]

The truth of this myth might be a surprise to some Americans. The declaration of independence that announced the separation of the 13 North American British Colonies from Great Britain was actually signed on August 2nd, 1776. To this day, many Americans believe the falsity that the founding fathers signed the declaration of independence on July 4th, 1776. Historically, the continental congress voted for independence and drafted the first official document on July 2nd, and a revised copy was adopted on July 4th. This date became known as the day it was signed because it is the date that appears on the declaration. However, the document was only officially signed on August 2nd. The United States of America was only recognized as an independent country after the colonies and Britain signed the official Treaty of Paris in September of 1783.

Inventor Thomas Edison Was The First Person Ever To Invent The Lightbulb

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Photo Courtesy: [National Park Service/Creative Commons]

Thomas Edison was an incredibly well-known inventor and had much acclaim during his life but did you know he wasn’t the first person to invent the lightbulb. Throughout history, the myth that he was the first to develop the lightbulb has prevailed and become a staple that many Americans believe is a fact. There were actually more than 20 other inventors who worked on the lightbulb before Edison. According to speculation, it’s thought that Edison stole or borrowed the ideas of his fellow inventors so that he could be the sole person to perfect the lightbulb and gain glory for the invention. In the end, Edison received the patents that proclaimed him the inventor, and this is why many people still believe he was the first inventor of the lightbulb. 

John Smith And Pocahontas Fell In Love Which Led To Their People Uniting

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Photo Courtesy: [The Folkman/Imgur]

Despite what numerous authors from as far back as the 1800s have led many to believe Pocahontas and John Smith were never in love, and there is no definitive proof that they saved the Jamestown colony or united their peoples. However, although they were never romantically involved as Pocahontas was just a child of 11 or 12 years, they did become friends during her repeated visits with Smith in Jamestown. According to Smith’s historical journals, Pocahontas stopped her family from executing Smith, and while he was in captivity, they became friends by teaching each other their languages. Smith was much older at 28 years of age, so despite what Disney and many writers would have the world believe, there was only ever a friendship between the two. 

The First Thanksgiving Was A Joyous Affair Between The Native Americans And The Pilgrims

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Photo Courtesy: [US Department of State/Creative Commons]

Countless historians have weighed in on the famous first Thanksgiving story where the Pilgrims and Native Americans feasted together in alleged joy and harmony. As the myth goes, the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower sought out the Native Americans to teach them how to successfully survive in the new world. The two groups reportedly sat together and shared a Thanksgiving meal. During this time, the Native Americans supposedly handed over America and their lands to the Pilgrims to create a land of prosperity, liberty, and Christianity. In essence, the story depicts how the Native Americans conceded to colonialism in a manner whereby no bloodshed occurred. The truth is vastly different as this story is rife with historical inaccuracies. Both groups had hostile feelings toward one another. According to historians’ many accounts, the Pilgrims viewed the Native Americans as savages and thus had no qualms about taking their land. Additionally, the smallpox disease brought over on the Mayflower nearly killed over 90 percent of Native Americans during this time. That is why the Native Americans wanted to strike an alliance with the Pilgrims. These happenings support the numerous historians’ beliefs that there was never a celebratory thanksgiving feast. In fact, it’s plausible that the Native Americans were never even invited to the three-day meal that transpired. 

There Were Witches Burnt At The Stake During The Salem Witch Trials

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Contrary to popular belief, the Massachusetts Salem witch trials of 1692 did not involve burning any witches at the stake. The Salem trials began after a group of young girls believed themselves to be possessed by a devil. A doctor of the time had a look at them and decided black magic was the cause of the girls’ illness. According to historical text, news of this spread quickly amongst the puritan village, and over the next several months, many alleged witches were killed. Per what English law was at the time, 19 people were hanged at the infamous gallows hill, and one man known as Giles Corey was pressed to death with stones, and many others died in jail while they awaited trial. None of the victims were ever burned at the stake, and it’s thought this falsity became popular belief because of the European practice of burning witches at the stake. 

The Famed Paul Revere Yelled, “The British Are Coming” While Riding On Horseback Through The Streets Of Massachusetts

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The tale of Paul Revere's courageous midnight horseback ride from Lexington to Concord, Massachusetts, to warn the colonists of the British army’s imminent attack is one many Americans know of. If not for his shouts, “The British are coming,” the town would have never known that the British army was on its way. Many accept this version of the story as truth, but this is not how the event transpired. Paul Revere was an avid activist in the Patriot movement. Thus, his patriotic spirit likely spurred him into action whereby he set out for Concord to warn of the British Invasion. Before the end of the night, more than 40 men were spreading the word of the impending invasion. However, Revere never quite got there as a British patrol arrested him and two others with him. Samuel Prescott, one of the men traveling with Revere, was the first to escape and set out towards Concord to warn the town. Revere eventually managed to escape and made his way on foot to Lexington as his horse had been seized. Upon arriving in Lexington, he found the town engaged in a battle atop Lexington Green. Revere never shouted the widely believed phrase “The British are coming” as he passed from town to town, nor did he shout this phrase in the streets of Concord. British troops were hiding in the countryside, so warning the towns had to be done as discreetly as possible. 

Former US President George Washington Had Wooden Teeth

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One of the most inaccurate myths surrounding former US president George Washington is that he had wooden dentures. This belief is wholly incorrect and presumably became popular due to Washington’s many dental problems in his lifetime. Many false studies published by mid-twentieth century scholars exist proclaiming that he did indeed have wooden dentures. Throughout his life, Washington’s teeth were not made out of wood but instead constructed of materials that included human, horse teeth, cows teeth, ivory, copper alloy, lead-tin alloy, and silver alloy. It's believed that the myth is so popular because, over time, Washingtons’ teeth stained and appeared to be wood. 

There Was Never Any Slavery In The North Only In The South

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The misconception that slavery only ever occurred in the South, and never in the North is entirely inaccurate. Before the Revolutionary War, slavery existed in every colony, and Massachusetts was the first colony to legalize slavery. Many Northern communities were actively involved in slavery through the support and participation in the shipbuilding, shoemaking, and textile industries. Additionally, some people might not be aware of the fact that New York had more than 1600 slaves by 1720, and former US presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both owned slaves. 

The Explorer Christopher Columbus Was The First Person To Discover America

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One of the most popular myths in American history involves Christopher Columbus and his alleged discovery of America. Many might have learned the tale during primary school and have been taught that Columbus was the first person ever to discover America, but this is inaccurate. During his travels, the famed explorer never set foot on North American soils as he was busy exploring the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas and Cuba. Columbus also did not discover America as there were already Native Americans inhabiting the country long before he came along. Moreover, Columbus is not the first explorer to set sail for the Americas as the Norse explorer Leif Erikson sailed the western hemisphere more than 400 years before him.

Upon Landing On The Moon, Astronaut Neil Armstrong said, “One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind”

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The world-famous phrase made by American astronaut Neil Armstrong when he took his first step onto the moon was reported, “One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind,” but this is actually not what he said. The millions of people who avidly watched him on the television or listened to him on the radio certainly heard that phrase. Still, upon returning to earth, Armstrong clarified what he actually said. He reportedly said, “One small step for a man, one giant step for mankind,” which if you think about it makes more sense compared to the redundant use of man and mankind in the famous saying. The ‘a’ was seemingly lost in the transmission feed from space to earth, with the Apollo 11 commander even stating he had not heard the accurate phrase that Armstrong had said. 

American Seamstress Betsy Ross Designed And Sewed The First US Flag

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The historical myth surrounding Betsy Ross designing and sewing the American flag is still disputed to this day. Some accept this story as fact, while others claim there isn’t enough substantial proof for it to be believable. According to the original story, George Washington and the others involved in the alleged flag committee asked Betsy Ross to design and sew the first flag on her own. Although this story is widely accepted due to the Ross family’s claims, there is no definitive evidence of a flag committee, nor is there any evidence that Washington was a part of it. In fact, Francis Hopkins, responsible for designing many symbols and seals, is believed to have had input in the American flag design. According to reports from congress at the time, the flag design was a collaborative effort, and thus suspicion has been cast on the Ross story since. 

The Battle At Alamo Involved Troops Fighting To Free Texas And America

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A popular American battle myth involves the troops at Alamo who allegedly fought for Texas and America’s freedom. This battle myth is as far from the truth as possible, as the Texans were not fighting for freedom but instead for the slave trade to be allowed to continue. A Mexican edict outlawing slavery and prohibiting US immigration to Texas was passed in 1830, causing dismay to the more than 30,000 Texans living in the area. The Texan outrage led to a revolt whereby the participants wanted to make Texas an independent nation. Famed General Santa Anna led the victory against the Alamo mission, but in 1836 he was forced to surrender, and Texas became a republic that went on to enter the US as a slave state. 

The Majority Of US Presidents Stayed Away From Alcohol

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Photo Courtesy: [National Archives/Creative Commons]

Many believe the myth that many of the American presidents throughout history have steered clear of consuming alcohol. However, this claim is often disputed by many historians and authors alike. Author Brian Abrams details the alcoholic history of many US presidents and clearly dispels the common misconception that the nation’s leaders hardly drank alcohol. Many US presidents were daily drinkers, and some even bordered on alcoholism. For example, John Adams started every day with a glass of hard cider, Harry Truman began every day with a shot of bourbon, and Jefferson reportedly spent a fortune purchasing Italian wines and brandies. 

Mass Panic Ensued After Orson Welles Adapted H.G. Wells’s “The War Of The Worlds” During A Live Broadcast

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When Orson Wells adapted “The war of the worlds” on live radio, there was never any “mass panic” as many Americans have been taught to believe. However, a small number of people called in concerned that the recording adaptation was a live take on transpiring events as Wells recited the story. During the radio breaks, four announcements stated the adaptation was not a real take on what was happening in the world and that it was a work of fiction. Historians believe the myth started because of the stiff competition radio stations and newspapers faced and that the story was spread on purpose leading to a case of media sensationalism. 

 Former President Abraham Lincoln Owned Slaves

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Over the years, a popular misconception has popped up repeatedly involving former president Abraham Lincoln. False accounts exist vilifying Lincoln by stating that he owned slaves, but this has been disputed countless times by numerous historical reports and texts. President Lincoln was never in possession of any slaves, and neither was his father. It’s believed that the idea of him owning slaves comes from the fact that his wife, Mary’s family in Kentucky, owned slaves. 

The Famous Wall Street Crash Of 1929 Caused Mass Suicides To Occur

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The wall street crash of 1929 did not cause mass suicides to occur, but this myth continues to be sensationalized by many. In truth, according to reports and statistical evidence, there were only two suicides that occurred following the wall street crash of 1929. In total, following the crash and during the period of “Black Thursday” October 24th until the end of the year, a total of 100 suicides occurred. For many years before the crash, suicide rates had been on the rise with a steep increase in 1930, 1931, and 1932 but mass suicides certainly did not occur in 1929 after the crash. 

Abner Doubleday Invented Baseball In Cooperstown, New York 

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In American sporting history, Abner Doubleday is often falsely attributed as being the inventor of baseball. However, there continues to be little to no evidence that he ever invented the sport in 1839. Doubleday himself never claimed to invent baseball, and in 1839 he was still at West point and not in Cooperstown, New York. Historians have suggested that the myth started with mining engineer Abner Graves’s claims, who is presumed to be the man that came up with the baseball origin story. In American history, references to the game actually go as far back as the 18th century, and the sport’s origins have been linked to the English version called rounders. 

Colonial Southern Homes Had Kitchens That Were Separated From The Main House Due To Fears Associated With House Fires

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The longstanding myth that Colonial Southern homes had kitchens separated from the main house due to fears associated with house fires has been debunked many times over the years. The tale was based on the thought process that house fires were a common occurrence, and it was easier to rebuild a kitchen than it was to rebuild an entire house. The real reason southern colonial houses had separate kitchens was predominantly because of the heat and how hot the South was. Another reason for the separate kitchen was so that slaves could be kept away from the household’s living areas. In many southern homes, the slaves had their accommodations above the kitchens.

The Island Of Manhattan Was Bought From The Native Americans for $24 Worth Of Beads

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According to myth and a few Dutch merchant accounts, the Island of Manhattan was reportedly bought by Dutch settlers in 1626 for only $24. Many historical texts stated that the entire Island was purchased from a tribe that had no rightful claim to the Island and that they sold the land at such a discount because they were taking the payment for land that didn’t belong to them. The Island was not sold for only glass beads, and the Dutch actually bought the Island with iron kettles, cloth, and knives, amongst other goods. When the truth eventually came out, the Dutch ended up paying again for the land, but this time payment was made to the rightful tribe, the Wappinger Confederacy. 

Former President Of The US George Washington Chopped Down A Cherry Tree

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Perhaps the most well-known myth surrounding former president George Washington is the cherry tree myth. The cherry tree’s original story states that when Washington was six years old, he received a hatchet for his birthday, and with it, he damaged his father’s cherry tree. Upon his father discovering the damage done to the tree, he questioned Washington, who vehemently claimed he couldn’t tell a lie and that he did indeed cut the tree. His father allegedly said his son’s honesty was worth more than a thousand cherry trees after hearing this. Although a lovely tale, this story is most definitely a myth as author Mason Locke Weeks made up the story that was published as fact in the fifth edition of Weems biography on Washington in 1806.

Famous Scientist George Washington Carver Invented Peanut Butter

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American George Washington Carver is arguably one of the most outstanding and innovative scientists and inventors in American history. However, he did not invent peanut butter even though he discovered more than 300 uses for peanuts, including shampoo, chili sauce, glue, and shaving cream. The real inventor of peanut butter was Marcellus Gilmore Edson, who invented peanut paste in 1884 after roasting and milling peanuts between two heated surfaces. Moreover, Harvey Kellogg patented the process of producing butter from raw peanuts. As can be evidenced, the history of how peanut butter came about is intriguing. Still, the fact remains that Carver was not the inventor of peanut butter, as American history proclaims. 

The 1960s - 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement Was Hostile Towards Men

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In American history, there is perhaps no social movement that has been more misinterpreted as the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s to 1970s. The many myths surrounding this movement claimed that the feminists involved were mainly white middle-class women who focused on pornography, abortion right, and sexual harassment issues. Although these were issues that the women concentrated on, the movement was predominantly concerned with economic goals such as better pay and equal rights. The biggest myth was the movement was focused on women hating men and the patriarchy, which is not the case. The liberation movement had women of all races, ages, and professions, and their efforts impacted change for the better in America today. 

The Large Crack In The Liberty Bell Occurred On July 4th, 1776

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Interestingly the Liberty Bell was not known as such until the 1830s but what’s more interesting is the myths surrounding how the bell became cracked. It’s vital to note that there is no concrete evidence proclaiming when the Liberty Bell cracked. Some claim the crack occurred on July 4th, 1776, or known today as independence day. Other accounts had stated that the bell cracked in 1824 when Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette visited where the bell was situated. Moreover, another take on the story of the crack states the bell was cracked during Chief Justice Marshall’s funeral in 1835 when it was rung. Today the bell is housed at Liberty Bell Center, where millions of people visit it each year to take in the crack and ponder when it truly occurred. 

George Washington Was The First US President To Reside In The White House

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Another popular myth that many people believe about former US president George Washington is that he was the first president to live in the white house. However, Washington did not live in the white house as the building had not been built yet during his presidency. John Adams, who was Washington’s successor, was the first president to live in the white house. At the start of his presidency, Wahington and his family lived at the Samuel Osgood house in New York City until they required a larger residence and moved to a lower Broadway home in 1790.  

Washington DC Has Always Been America's Capital City

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Washington, DC has not always been the capital city of America as many people to this day still believe. New York City was the first capital city of America once the constitution was ratified. Washington, DC was only established as the capital city after the lengthy negotiations that lasted seven years. Members of the US Congress decided that Washington DC should be the federal government’s permanent seat in 1790. They chose the city strategically as part of a plan that they had developed to appease pro-slavery states that had feared a Northern capital would be too sympathetic to abolitionists. 

Benjamin Franklin Believed That A Turkey Should Be The American National Bird

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Former US president Benjamin Franklin did not want the national bird to be a turkey. The famous American myth is believed to be derived from a letter that Franklin wrote that was taken out of context. In the letter to his daughter, he jokingly criticized the original Great Seal design and said it looked more like a turkey than a bald eagle. In the letter, he also spoke of how a Turkey would be an exemplary example for a symbol, but he did not propose that it should be the symbol of the Great Seal. 

Walt Disney Was The Designer Behind The Iconic Disney Character Mickey Mouse

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It might be surprising to learn that Walt Disney was not the artist behind the famous Disney Character Mickey Mouse. Throughout Disney’s history, artist Ub Iwerks is attributed sporadically as a contributing artist to the Mickey Mouse character. In truth, Mickey Mouse isn’t entirely Ub Iwerks’s creation. Numerous stories surround how Mickey Mouse is the brainchild of Walt Disney, which is arguably the case, but UB Iwerks drew Mickey Mouse, not Walt Disney. 

American Cowboys Wore Cowboy Hats

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Contrary to what is believed today, American cowboys in the wild west did not wear cowboy hats. The tall wide-brimmed hats that many associates with cowboys are not the type of hats they would wear during this era. The famed Stetson was first produced in 1865, but it only became popular during the 19th century as the preferred hat for cowboys was the derby or, as it’s known today, the bowler hat. Historians have stated that frontiersmen usually wore hats that related directly to their profession and many were commonly made from beaver fur felt. 

Former US President Richard Nixon Was An Avid Environmentalist

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Arguably one of the biggest misconceptions about former US president Richard Nixon is that he was an avid environmentalist. Although establishing the EPA in 1970 and Earth Day in the same year, Nixon didn’t only do these things because he cared for the environment. Many political historians have analyzed the Environmental changes Nixon initiated and have concluded that there were various political gains that he sought by doing this. However, despite Nixon not being as much of an environmentalist as many believed him to be, his actions did help start and build the momentum for the environmental protection movement. 

It’s Highly Illegal To Burn The American Flag 

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In recent years many still believe the myth that it was illegal to burn the American flag. The legality surrounding burning the American flag was brought into question in 1989, and the Flag Protection Act of 1989 was passed. However, in 1990 the supreme court reversed the previous law that prohibited the burning or desecration of the flag and ruled that allowing the flag to be burnt by those who wished to do it was an example of constitutionally protected freedom of speech. So, although severely frowned upon, it is technically legal to burn the American flag today. 

America Evolved From Thirteen Original Colonies

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Although there are 13 stripes on the American flag representing the 13 original colonies, only 12 colonies rebelled against British rule in 1775. Many believed Delaware to be its own colony, but it was not as it was a part of the Pennsylvania colony. Delaware remained a part of Pennsylvania until it declared itself an independent state in June of 1776. Delaware was also coincidentally the first state to ratify the American Constitution on December 7th, 1787. 

William Howard Taft Got Stuck In A Whitehouse Bathtub

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Possibly one of the more outrageous myths surrounding a former US president is the story of William Howard Tuft getting stuck in a White House bathtub. Over the years, the prevalent myth surrounding America’s heaviest president and 10th Chief of Justice has changed here and there, but the essence of the story remains the same. According to the myth, Tuft had to have six men dislodge and carry him out of a bathtub when he had become stuck. Recently historian Alexis Coe investigated the tale and found no evidence that this event ever occurred. She stated that the fabricated story could be traced to Irwin Hoover, one of the veteran White House staff. 

The First Car Was Invented In America

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The American Model T Ford is famed for being the first-ever car invented in history, but this is simply not true. It is unclear why so many Americans believe that the first car was developed in the US when numerous historical texts demonstrate the automobile’s concept originated in Europe. According to reports, the first patent for an internal combustion-powered car was filled in 1886 by Karl Benz, proving that America didn’t invent the first car. 

All The Founding Fathers Were Christians

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One of the most enduring myths in US history is that all the founding fathers were Christian. The truth is most of the founding fathers were Protestants. A large majority of the founding fathers were raised in the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches. Three of the founding fathers, namely Charles Carroll, Thomas Fitzsimmons, and Daniel Carroll, had a Roman Catholic heritage. Many appeared to be wholly Christian on the surface, but during the 18th century, there was a religious school of thought called Deism. Many historians believe most of the founding fathers were influenced by Deistic beliefs, which influenced many of their decisions.  

The American Government Knew The Attack On Pearl Harbor Would Occur

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Many believe that the US government knew the attack on pearl harbor would occur. Over the years, numerous writers and journalists claimed the US government had advanced knowledge of the attack but chose to ignore it as they wanted to join WWII ultimately. Many historians strongly refuted this myth, considering these claims a fringe theory as there is no concrete evidence to prove any of the claims.

Former US President Abraham Lincoln Was Wholeheartedly Always Against Slavery

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Based on numerous historical texts’ accounts, it is apparent that former US president Abraham Lincoln did indeed have conflicting thoughts and feelings towards slavery in America. Although Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, he reportedly had many conflicting emotions on slavery. Famously Lincoln is quoted as saying that if he could have saved the Union without ending slavery, he would have done so, and if he could have ended all slavery to save the Union, he would do the same. Therefore many believe lincoln was on the fence about the issues surrounding Slavery in America. 

American Troops Single-Handedly Defeated Hitler During World War Two

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Many Americans believe that American troops single-handedly defeated Hitler during World War II. This is partly because of numerous biased historical texts, movies, and comics portraying American might. Historians claim that the correct attribution for winning WWII should go to the Soviet Union as, in 1941, more than 80% of Germany’s casualties occurred on this front. Moreover, while Germany was fighting Hitler and his troops, the US and Britain were in an argument that delayed the opening of a second front until 1944. By the time this eventually occurred, the Axis powers had nearly already been broken on the Eastern front. Still, the added pressure from the Western front hastened the eventual demise of the Nazis. 

US Pilot Charles Lindbergh Was The First Person To Complete A Solo Transatlantic Crossing In An Airplane

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One of the famous American aviation myths involves a US pilot named Charles Lindbergh. Some false historical accounts claimed that Lindbergh was the first pilot ever to complete a solo transatlantic crossing in an airplane. Other reports stated he claimed the Orteig prize by flying non-stop over the Atlantic ocean. These stories are false, although Lindbergh did win $25,000 for flying from New York to Paris in 1927. However, the feat was already accomplished in 1919, eight years prior, by British pilots Alcock and Brown. 

A Gold Miner Invented The Martini During The Gold Rush

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The gold rush was a prosperous time for America, and many stories began during this era that many still believe today. One such myth is that a gold miner invented the famous alcoholic beverage the Martini in Martinez, California. The story revolves around a gold miner who allegedly became very wealthy very quickly and went to a bar to celebrate. Upon his visit to the bar, he drank a Martinez, a special cocktail that the bar served. After a few drinks, the miner eventually began slurring his order, and thus the Martini was invented. There is no historical proof that this story has any credence, and it’s still mostly a mystery today whether or not he was indeed the inventor of the Martini. 

The Majority Of Men In The American Colonies Wore Wigs

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In Colonial America, wig-wearing was done by the wealthy, and as such, the majority of men in the era never owned nor wore a wig. Most of the time, the men who wore wigs were influential and affluent as wigs were primarily seen as an expensive upper-class accessory. Often men opted instead to powder their own hair in place of wigs as it was the cheaper alternative. Some American textbooks have been shown to inaccurately state that most men wore wigs, even though the myth has been debunked many times. Additionally, it is estimated that only around 5 percent of the colonial Virginian state wore wigs, and the gentry made up 2 percent of the 5 percent total. 

A Constitutional Mandate Stipulates That The Supreme Court Needs To Have Nine Members And Has Always Had Nine Members

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The supreme court in America was founded in 1789 and originally had six justices, but in 1807 the number swelled to seven. When looking at historical reports, it can be seen that thirty years later, the court had a total of nine. Moreover, in 1863 during the Civil War, the number increased to ten. The myth that the supreme court needs to have nine members is just that, a myth. The supreme court hasn’t always had nine members, nor is it required to. In theory, the supreme court could have upwards of ten or as many as a unified congressional would allow. 

After America gained Independence, Pirates Seized To Exist

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The belief that pirates seized pirating after America gained independence is highly incorrect. Historical accounts attest to this through the recorded history of the notorious pirate Charles Gibbs’ high profile case. Gibbs’ case didn’t end until 1832 when he was convicted of mutiny, and the truth is many pirates continued raiding and sailing the seas throughout the 19th century. 

A Singular Cow Kicking Over A Lantern started the Great Chicago Fire Of 1871

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A prevalent myth in American history is that of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, who allegedly kicked over a lit lantern that sparked a fire in the family’s barn and caused the Great Chicago fire of 1871. After the cow allegedly kicked over the lantern, the flames spread throughout the city so that by early Tuesday morning, the city was utterly ravaged with more than an estimated $200 million worth of property damages. Additionally, more than 300 lives were lost, and over 100000 people, which was roughly a third of the population, had become homeless. Even though many still believe the myth, the actual cause of the Great Chicago fire has never been determined. Presumably, it is most likely to have occurred because of the dry weather conditions and the abundance of wooden structures. 

The First Gunshot Known As The “Shot Heard Around The World.” Started The Revolution

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The famous phrase known to the world as the “shot heard around the world” coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson is described as the first gunshot account that sparked the Revolutionary War. The shot reportedly occurred at the battle of Lexington and Concord and allegedly marked the beginning of the violent conflict in American history. However, a seminal by Ray Raphael states that this account is a myth and that farmers had been fighting red coats since 1774, which is an entire year before the famed battle.

The World Famous Phrase, “Houston We, Have A Problem,” Is Historically Incorrect

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The phrase “Houston, we have a problem” might be internationally recognized as the famous line that an astronaut aboard the Apollo 13 uttered on April 13th, 1970, but it is incorrect. Despite what Americans and the rest of the world believe, the correct phrase said was actually “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” 

Hallucinogens Were The Cause Of The Salem Witchcraft Crisis

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The erroneous myth that the Salem witch crisis was caused by ergot poisoning arose after an article was published in the mid-1970s. The report that focused on ergot poisoning and its role in the Salem witch trials was mostly speculation and, as such, was thoroughly debunked almost immediately after it was published. The study stated that ergot poisoning, which is known to create LSD-like effects on the human body, was the cause of the Salem witch crisis. This is entirely incorrect, with many acclaimed historians such as Mary Beth Norton refuting the claim for several reasons. Despite the myth being dispelled, many Americans still believe that ergot poisoning could have been the reason behind the Salem witch crisis. This is presumably because it neatly simplifies a complex event in history. 

The Wild West Was Fraught With Violence That Involved Daily Murders And Shootouts

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Many movies and novels have depicted the historic wild west as an extremely violent and murderous time to live in for many Americans. Allegedly there were daily shootouts in the streets and fights with Native Americans over land and dueling cowboys, outlaw vigilantes, and countless bank robberies. Interestingly most of the wild west stories are grossly exaggerated, and many were falsified to create legends. For example, only 12 bank robberies took place on the frontier during 1859 and 1900, and murder was not as common as inaccurate reports state. Ultimately settlers of the wild west were more interested in cooperation than in dueling to the death. 

The Gay Rights Movement Is A Relatively New Concept

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In recent years the gay rights movement has blown up in America, but the common misconception that the movent only began in the last decade is incorrect. The campaign was actually born in the 1950s right alongside the modern civil rights movement. In 1950 the Mattachine Society was formed and began advocating equal rights. Moreover, In 1969 the gay rights movement gained national traction that never faded, mainly due to the Stonewall Riots in New York. Therefore the perception that the gay rights movement is a contemporary civil rights movement is not wholly accurate as people have been campaigning for decades in America. 

General Washington Was An Ingenious Strategist And Tactician Famed For His Many Victories During Battle

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While there is no doubt that George Washington was one of America’s greatest presidents, it’s arguable that he was not one of the nation’s best tacticians or military strategists. Truthfully based on many historical texts, Washington was rarely victorious in battle, and he actually lost more battles than he ever won. 

Throughout History, America Has Never Fought To Conquer Foreign Lands 

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Despite the differing claims surrounding the myth that America never tried to conquer foreign lands, the truth is hundreds of 19th century Americans tried with some success to conquer foreign countries. In fact, many of the filibusters, as they were known, did not have the American government’s permission in their pursuit to conquer lands. The act of attempted conquest expressly went against the Neutrality Act, which was passed in 1818. One of the most notorious true stories of an American conquering a foreign land for a time goes to William Walker, a lawyer from Tennessee. Walker was the most successful as he had managed to infiltrate and take over Nicaragua in Mexico while even instating himself as president for a few years.

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