Our Worldview

Worldview as it Relates to History

History can be a controversial subject because it deals not only with objective facts, but also with the interpretation and the meaning of those facts.  Many parents believe that history teaches important lessons about society and human nature and are sensitive to the type of history lessons that they want their family exposed to. This is especially true among conservative parents who believe that contemporary authors sometimes distort the facts of history to support a politicized, anti-Christian agenda.

The problem of bias in modern history books is a real problem, but all of the books in the Heritage History library were published before 1923 and Children’s authors that denigrated traditional American values, or Christian teachings were rare in that time period. Our books tend to be respectful of Christianity, the accomplishments of Western Civilization, and traditional morality. It is not modern biases—which parents are so vigilant to avoid—but older biases, such as imperialism, Germanic racism, progressive optimism, and anti-Catholic vitriol that we have had to contend with.

Although we believe that the books in our library are wonderful resources for traditional families, we don’t contend that every book is suitable for every student.  It is a far different assignment for an individual parent to make decisions about reading assignments for their own family, than it is for a librarian to decide which books may be valuable to a variety of families with different learning styles and faith traditions.  At Heritage History we republish hundreds of books by dozens of authors on every imaginable historical topic.  However, only about ten percent of our histories deal with explicitly religious subjects. The vast majority deal indirectly or not at all with Christian themes.

Instead of simply making a statement of our own personal faith, therefore, we believe it is more helpful if we disclose some of the guidelines we used in deciding what to include in our library. The matter isn’t a simple one of our own personal worldview, but rather, the vision we have for our library.

  1. The primary mission of Heritage History is to promote narrative, or “story-based” history, rather than analytical history.  We prefer books that tell their stories in the most engaging possible manner, and avoid interpretive and comparative histories, even those written with the best of intentions.
  2. We prefer “living books” to textbook style histories.  All our books are intended to be read continuously rather than studied on a chapter-by-chapter basis, and we believe that densely written textbooks are less appealing to students than lighter, more conversational histories.
  3. All of the works of historical literature found in our library are children’s versions.  At this time our library only contains adapted and simplified versions of historically significant works, no unabridged classics.
  4. Our library focuses on “real” histories, rather than historical fiction because we believe that well-written histories are often just as engaging as fictionalized accounts.  Most of the works of fiction we do include are either intended for younger students or are valuable primarily for their historical insights.
  5. Our library contains histories and biographies written from both Protestant and Catholic perspectives. Most of our books provide a Protestant, but reasonably balanced viewpoint and only a few are overtly biased in their treatment of the conflict. Several of our most virulently anti-Catholic books, such as “Highlights of the Mexican Revolution” are included because they realistically portraying extreme anti-Catholic bigotry as it actually existed. We do not condone such vitriol, but believe that it is historically significant.
  6. We include books that depict American Indian, Native African, and Polynesian cultures in a manner that is no longer considered sufficiently “sensitive”. Most of our accounts are based on original sources, and although we regret any distortions, we believe that they portray events as they actually occurred.
  7. Several of our books include patriotic references to imperialism, generalizations about cultures, optimistic references to social progress, anti-clerical comments, or other offhand statements that we do not condone.  We are not prepared to defend every word in every book, but if we did not believe that the value of a particular book did not strongly outweigh its minor imperfections, we would not include it in the collection.

2 comments

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  1. Rosemary

    Dear Mr. & Mrs. Roth,
    I wished to make a few comments regarding your recent submission to Currclicks Weekly Newsletter; entitled Beyond American History. I much appreciated your dicussion of the value of teaching all history including American history. It gives me motivation to teach my children history with this underlying theme. If I may be so bold as to point out one bit of misinformation in your submission. The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the the Constitution. More exactly, in the First Amendment the words are “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” I feel compelled to point this out to you, since this is the myth that those who oppose God and religion in our public life and schools adhere to most vehemently (and wrongly teach others so also). I believe it’s very important that you, as Christians and having set yourselves up as educators and supporters of learning and education, are accurate in this area. I thank you for your time in considering this matter. Sincerely, Rosemary P, Chicago, IL

    1. T. A. Roth

      Dear Rosemary,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I understand and agree with your criticism of “separation of church and state”. The first draft of the article included a more complete description of English Church-state relations. Due to space considerations, however, I had to abbreviate and that phrase was a useful shorthand. The history of government opposition to religion, both through suppression and subversion, is a disgraceful one and one of many things I hope reading history helps people become more knowledgeable about.

      Blessings, T. A. Roth

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