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U.S. History/Myths and misrepresentations.

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Question
Hello,
I am doing a project on different myths and misconceptions that appeared throughout any era of American history. I was wondering if you had any leads on that matter or a place I could start since I am only starting my research.Any help would be much appreciated. Keep in mind that I am looking for widespread myths that are either proven to be false or that have no proof to sustain the myth.

Thank you in advance.
Martin.

Answer
A popular scientific theory, popular about 150 years ago, was phrenology. This theory was that one could discern information about a person's mental, emotional, social, and moral capacities based on skull size and shape.  The theory basically posited that since different parts of the brain were responsible for different functions, people who had larger or smaller parts of sections of their brains would have larger or smaller mental functions in those areas.  Skull shape and bumps could tell a reader what parts of the brain were more or less developed.  This whole theory has been proven false and is completely discredited today.

If you want to go even further back in time, the middle ages saw a popular belief in Alchemy, which posited the ability to change elements into other elements through various chemical processes.  A common attempt was to turn lead into gold.  This also has been proven false.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.

Experience

I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.

Publications
http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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