From time to time I have touched on the problems of modern people adjusting public history to avoid pasts they hate, or at least cannot own. The most striking U.S. example for many years has been that of New England, where Puritans are personae non grata, at least in public memory, and where their descendants are free to celebrate their heritage in the darkest recesses of absolute privacy.

The state flag controversies marked the beginning of a similar effect in the Southern section of this country. As noted previously, the next step in Dixie (based on New England's example) is to move the clock forward to a starting point that comforts modern voters by eliminating historiographic controversy.

In making this comparison between the South and New England, reference has often been made here to Georgia's revision of its American history high school curriculum. Here is an fresh summary of the content of that history:

* 2-3 weeks on the founding of the Republic
* Fast forward to 1876 for the rest of the course

As the columnist in the link explains, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater: Lewis & Clark, the Underground Railroad, and even Honest Abe. Maybe the Georgia colonists appear in another course.

Is this a bad thing? Yes ... if you expect students will learn nothing outside the classroom before and after matriculation. It's certainly a strategy I expect to be copied in many more states and it will be interesting to see where the start dates are set, case by case.

Georgia is also starting its world history course with the Renaissance. This means Georgia high school graduates will be equipped to ask, "Rebirth from what?" as well as "Reconstruction from what?"