US History Myths

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There is always a story and history behind every country. The American history has an amazing history, but the truth is that some of them are not true. The U.S has historical records some of which are exaggerated. To believe that they are true and part of American history, they have been repeated so that we no longer recognize them as myths anymore. There is always truth behind every myth, and we get to learn the exaggeration and change behind every myth.

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Betsy Ross and the American Flag

Today, most Americans believe that seamstress Betsy Ross designed the first American flag. She was requested by George Washington to help design the First American flag. This myth is very pervasive that it has found its way into childrens books, paintings, and school teachings. There is no historical evidence that supports the designing of the American flag by Ross Betsy, or any other person. The story is not true as she did not claim the responsibility when she was alive. This idea came up with her grandson 35 years after she had died. The story became popular after the civil war when it was published, and the country embraced it in patriotism. The man credited for designing the American flag was Robert G. Heft- the current 50-star flag. It was designed in 1958, and he was 17 years old by then. The myth has been immortalized as Betsy is viewed as a patriot bringing out the symbols of purity, innocence and vigilance to America through the American flag ( Shenkman, 1989).

Paul Reveres warning of the coming of British

It is believed that on 18th April 1775, Paul Revere rode on a horse through the streets of Boston to Lexington to Massachusetts warning people that the British forces were coming. This story has been exaggerated by poet Wadsworth Longfellow. The truth is that Pauls ride was not seen as a big deal during his time. He did not do the ride alone but was helped by others. Moreover, it was not even mentioned in his obituary. It is almost seen as a lie that he shouted warning people because thus was meant to be a secret. The Americans have immortalized this myth as they want to view the heroic part of Paul Revere since he saved most people by getting them ready for the British force; therefore, he is viewed as a hero and savior (Rachael, 2014).


History revises itself, and although some are based on the truth, they have grown into the myths of American history. Whether they are true or not, we choose to believe in them. For instance, Betsy Ross myth has been perceived as true and has been adopted in schools and libraries. For Paul Revere, his myth has also been accepted, and he has also been received as a hero who saved the Americans. It is crucial to recognize where the facts end and where the story begins.


Raphael, R. (2014). Founding myths: Stories that hide our patriotic past.

Shenkman, R. (1989). Legends lies & cherished myths of American history. New York: HarperPerennial.

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