The state capital of Nebraska is named for Abraham Lincoln. Oddly, students may have to look outside the state’s school system if they hope to learn about him, and other exceptional American leaders, in the decades ahead.
A committee of 45 educators there is rewriting the state’s standards for teaching history, economics, civics, and geography. An initial draft of the new standards left out any mention of America’s Founding Fathers.
While a spokesperson for the Nebraska Department of Education insists that the Founders will be part of the final draft, school board member John Sieler still has concerns. “I do believe America is an exceptional nation, and we need to teach that,” he told Fox News. “We are the home of equality and freedom, and that’s why people come here.”
The standards are still in draft form, of course. Before they finalize their standards, Nebraska educators might want to read through some of Heritage expert Matthew Spalding’s work on American history:
America is exceptional because, unlike any other nation, it is dedicated to the principles of human liberty, grounded on the truths that all men are created equal and endowed with equal rights. These permanent truths are “applicable to all men and all times,” as Abraham Lincoln once said.
There is also something extraordinary about how long our Constitution, the great charter that secures our liberties, has endured. “The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France’s, Germany’s, Italy’s or Spain’s constitution, it’s older than all of them put together,” columnist Mark Steyn points out. “Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent’s governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family.”
There is, however, no guarantee that we will forever enjoy our liberties.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream,” as Ronald Reagan put it. “It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
We should teach the principles that make America an exceptional nation—in Nebraska and every state—so that these lessons are not lost.