7 MYTHS You Still Believe About History
TIP: Forget what you think you know.
Most people would tell you not to believe everything you read on the internet. Well this list here will prove that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear either — yep, including the things your grandmother’s mother told you.
MYTH #1: Seamstress Betsy Ross designed and sewed the first official Stars and Stripes flag.
The truth is that there’s scarcely any evidence to back up this claim. It’s a popular lore, yes, because this tale of the seamstress from Philadelphia has been passed on from generation to generation for over 100 years. But though there’s lack of proof, casting doubts doesn’t necessarily mean she did not sew the first American flag. It’s just that some historians want something more than mere ‘well-loved fiction’. According to such story, Ross sewed a prototype flag (revolutionaries were using flags of different designs back then) and then the Congress liked it and consequently approved it. However, the fact of the matter is Ross never claimed she made the flag and there’s no proof that Ross and George Washington even knew each other.
MYTH #2: There was massive panic during the 1938 radio show broadcast of “War of the Worlds.”
On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater group made an adaptation of the popular science fiction novel “The War of the Worlds” written by H.G. Wells. To be fair, the radio play DID sound like real news despite the disclaimer that it was “all for entertainment.” The story that went around was that most people missed the warning and thought that Martians were really starting to invade New York City. They began to evacuate their homes, called the authorities what to do next, etc. But it was all hoax. For one, few people were actually listening to that particular station because majority of the listeners were tuning to Chase and Sanborn Hour.
MYTH #3: All American cowboys include cowboy hats in their ensemble.
We’re all guilty in this. Well, blame it on the movies. It’s iconic and is even made more popular by the old adage that goes,‘It’s the last thing you take off and the first thing that is noticed.’ Before John B. Stetson and his famous lightweight hat “Boss of the Plains”, most cowboys used derby hats. Stetson eventually made all-weather hats which offered protection from sun and rain and was popular because of its durability.
MYTH #4: During WWII, the US dominated the Axis Forces and therefore ended up saving Europe.
This is common misconception. After Adolf Hitler started visualizing Lebensraum or an empire of habitat/living space in Europe, they invaded the USSR as a direct violation of the August 1939 German-Soviet Pact of Nonaggression. On December 1941, the Soviet troops launched a powerful and highly effective counteroffensive against the German forces thus forcing them from the Moscow outskirts. Following that, historians agreed that it is not US that saved Europe but the Soviet Union.
MYTH #5: The Great Depression yielded mass suicides including investors who jumped out their office windows.
Initially, economists thought that The Wall Street crash on October 27, 1929 would not persist for years. Instead of getting better, the depression eventually worsened with unemployment rate rising from 8 to 15 million. Because of the shame and despair of losing practically everything and not getting any jobs, some people did commit suicide BUT the number was a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, the suicide rate decreased in New York City at the time.
MYTH #6: Paul Revere warned patriots by yelling “The British are coming!” in his midnight ride from Lexington to Concord, Massachusetts.
Also known as The Midnight Rider, Paul Revere is a silversmith’s son. Think of it this way, Revere is riding atop a galloping horse and as he tears through the streets, he hollers “The British are coming!” to warn Samuel Adams, John Hancock and other patriots. Revere was with two other companions, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, who were given the same task. Revere was captured and temporarily detained and Dawes fell off his horse. Prescott eventually succeeded in giving out the warning. But since the task should be done in utmost secrecy, it’s impossible that Revere will yell such message on the streets.
MYTH #7: The Fourth of July is the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Here’s the big bummer, that’s not the actual date when the signing of the Declaration happened. This is a quick summary of the events.
On July 1, 1776; the Second Continental Congress held a meeting in Philadelphia. On July 2, 12/13 colonies voted in favor of the motion for independence. On July 3, the delegates were busy revising Thomas Jefferson’s draft. On July 4, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Congress. The signing, however, took place a month later.