Did Betsy Ross know how to Sew?

Posted: January 14, 2011 in Heroes & Villians

Betsy Ross captivates the Patriots and young children as she makes her final needle pulls on the first American Flag. The guy that painted this picture did it in 1930, so he is a good source for knowing what the scene looked like.

So Cam Newton may have gotten paid to play College Football.     Maybe Miss January’s breasts aren’t real.   It turns out Bernie Madoff wasn’t such a smart financier.    

So what will come next?    Betsy Ross couldn’t sew?   She couldn’t make a quilt?   She didn’t know how to mend the holes in husband John Ross’s socks?   

I am waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one, and I’d like to lodge a protest against my high school education.    I’d ask for my money back, but I went to a public school.    That wouldn’t work anyway because all the other high schools in America were teaching us the same garbage, that Betsy Ross created the first American Flag.     

Imagine my shock the other day when over 20 years after taking my high school history courses, and over 230 years since the historical events actually happened – or didn’t – I find out that the Betsy Ross story is a Fraud.    

As I recall reading from my textbooks, Betsy Ross was the widowed matriarch heroine of the Revolutionary War.    She went to the same church as George Washington, so naturally she wasn’t surprised when the General knocked on her door one afternoon.

“The guys and I are off to fight the red coats, can you make us up a flag?”    The venerable General would ask.   “I’ll send Benedict Arnold by later to pick it up.” 

“Sure, I can do that,” Ross replies.   “Did the guys down at the Continental Congress decide on Red, White and Blue like I read in Ben’s paper, and should we go with 13 stars or are you still having problems getting those rednecks from Georgia to ratify?”    

Some of those above quotes are from memory because I don’t actually have a copy of my high school history book right in front of me.    Though, one could presume that even Betty Ross thought the original Georgians would one day exhibit redneck qualities – a savvy hunch on her part because NASCAR was not yet invented at the time of the Revolutionary War. 

It turns out the whole Betsy Ross thing may not have actually happened.   She was long gone before she ever appeared in historical annuls.     Her grandson in 1870, almost 100 years after the supposed events, presented evidence that she was approached to make the first flag.   Who knows why, perhaps he had a devious plan to profit wildly by selling commemorative golden thimbles.    It sounded like a good story, so history books ran with it.    History researchers from the Smithsonian now say it might not be true, she might not have ever created the first American Flag.    

Now let’s be clear about one thing.   By all accounts she had mad skills with the needle and thread.    What she could do with a pair of scissors is the stuff of legend.    She might have been the original designer behind the five-pointed star on the American flag.   But alas, she was not the original creator of the flag.   More likely she was one of several early flag makers in American history.  

That it was passed down through the history books is just the latest proof point that most of what is shared in history textbooks are a series of partial truths, fabrications and nationalistic cheerleading.   Our history textbooks fabricated the story of Christopher Columbus, claiming that he heroically proved the Earth was round, unknowingly discovered a new continent, and died penniless.    All of which conflicts with his own journals.   It reveres him still as a heroic figure each October 12th, despite the fact that his actions led to the annihilation and enslavement of the near entirety of the Arawak Indian tribe.  

Just as it is necessary for us to be skeptical about our current heroes of the grid iron, movie set, and political scene, in the same way, we should also question the recurring characters of histories textbooks.

The other day I thought that E=MC2.  They told me that in high school once.   Now I’m not sure.

For more half-truths and outright lies visit the Small Ball Report at www.smallballreport.com

  1. Mark Hougen says:

    Could you please write something sarcastic about Pluto no longer being a planet? (please include multple sports refernces so Ill have proper context) Thanks Bunches!!!!!!

    • liebrandt says:

      If at such time we ever come across definitive evidence that Pluto is not a planet, than we will announce that as breaking news. Thank you for stopping by the Small Ball Report.

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