“The Patriot” – A Lost Opportunity

Early in 2000, the Smithsonian Museum of American History announced… it would assist in the production of an epic film about the American Revolution starring Mel Gibson.  Historians, history buffs, and living historians were further enticed by the original script detailing the exploits of “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion.  Disappointment with “The Patriot” started early, asContinue reading ““The Patriot” – A Lost Opportunity”

Boston Tea Party in Perspective

Modern political activists invoke history… to justify and rationalize their activism- but often lose the real lessons of the events.  The Boston Tea Party was not a simple protest against taxation; it was a complex disagreement over duties, exemptions, tariffs, and trade balance.  Current political rhetoric cheapens the truly historic events of that December inContinue reading “Boston Tea Party in Perspective”

The Authority Passes- Bernard Bailyn

Eminent historian Bernard Bailyn passed away Friday at the age of 97. His work earned him all the important historical accolades, including two Pulitzers. Many credit him with creating an American Cambridge(Mass.) school of historiography, influencing such students as Pauline Maier, Mary Beth Norton, and Gordon Wood. No other scholar impacted the study of theContinue reading “The Authority Passes- Bernard Bailyn”

Historical Revision in Perspective

At the heart of historical revisionism is distrust… a lack of faith in previous interpretations of the historical record.  This blog has bitterly observed the crass consumerism and intellectual vanity that often drive outlandish revisions in our history.  But, a closer examination reveals the true divide between revisionist and traditionalist- trust. As historians rush toContinue reading “Historical Revision in Perspective”