Many Americans can't distinguish between patriotism and nationalism, let alone malignant nationalism. Yet the skill is vital to any democracy in the prevention of fascism.
Trump, Charlottesville -- you never saw them coming. Recognizing fascism requires real history education. In post-Trump America others may have to set that up.
What American kids should be learning in History class: Just because something starts off small doesn't mean it's not a big deal. Trump's Muslim registration and identification plans are definitely a big deal.
Lies My Teacher Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen, explains why American high school history education results in the nationalism, the heroification of individuals, the lack of historical perspective, and the notion that universities are left-wing breeding grounds.
American history education is comprised mostly of disjointed, unimportant personal anecdotes, dates of battles and numbers killed. Cause and effect are barely touched upon. I can see why kids think, "Booooring!"
Angry goldfish and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made scapegoating the main theme of his campaign demagoguery. This is when high school history education comes in handy, if you've had any.
In good history education, the focus is not the war itself. (In this case the American Civil War.) It's why it was fought, the effects of a war on the following years, decades, centuries, and most importantly, what we learned from it.