How W. Cleon Skousen Whitewashed American History

Moments in American history from the right-wing historian who inspired Glenn Beck and taught a young Mitt Romney.
The Man Behind Glenn Beck's Chalkboard

Right-wing historian W. Cleon Skousen has seen a posthumous rise in popularity thanks to Fox News host Glenn Beck, who has praised Skousen's book The 5000 Year Leap and said that the 9 principles and 12 values of his 912 Project were inspired by Skousen's "28 principles of freedom." As MoJo's Stephanie Mencimer reports, demand for the constitutional seminars offered by Skousen's National Center for Constitutional Studies has more than tripled since the Tea Party movement took off. A new edition of The 5000 Year Leap (with a foreward by Beck) is flying off the shelves.

So what does Skousen's version of American history look like, exactly? A reading of Skousen's 1986 textbook, The Making of America, and its corresponding workbook, reveal a revisionist—and racially charged—narrative that's pretty different from the one most Americans study in school.