Amateur And Professional Historians Of The United States
Amateur and professional historians tremendously shaped the United State?s history; historians made America what it is today. Historians came to us in many different fashions. From heroes that founded our nation, intelligent inventors, even to the people who just simply wrote down our history so Americans could know what our ancestors went through.
Historians from America write about a large variety of issues and conflicts that the United States history witnessed: the agriculture, illnesses, leisure, banking, and even the sewer systems of elder times. Historians have helped us to link the past more to the present. An Italian philosopher, Benedetto Croce, observed that ?every true history is contemporary history?. Croce was trying to cast that history was a science and could recover objective truths if properly practiced; he insisted that the past is unknowable. This does not mean that one cannot find out anything solid about the past, it means that no account of the past is free of perspectives, prejudices, and the priorities of the author.
There were few major groups of historians that dramatically shaped the mold of American history: the Nationalists, Progressives, Consensus, Old Marxists, and the New Left. Each division of American historians includes several people who symbolize what each group stood for.
The Nationalists were the dominant historical school during the 1870-1920 time period. They believed that America was a great country and believed it as a legally constitutional place. The Nationalists were predominantly pro-business and were considered the ?captains of the industry?. Andrew Carnegie, Walt Whitmen, and Allan Nevins were a few of the Nationalists prized historians.
Andrew Carnegie and Walt Whitmen were both considered as amateur historians, and Nevins was a professional historian. All of these men thought highly of America and its constitutional foundations. Andrew Carnegie, Triumphant Democracy, considered America a leading nation in almost everything. He said that America leads the civilized world in population, wealth, annual savings, public credit, freedom from debt, agriculture, and in manufacturing. The Nationalists were truly American-oriented.
The Progressives were dominant from 1920-1945. Progressives considered America as a bad nation and believed that the United States to have an economic history. The Progressives were viewed as anti-businessmen and were called ?Robber Barons?.
Among the Progressive historians, there are a few that symbolize the Progressives; among these were: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Henry D. Lloyd, Charles A. Beard, Vernon L. Parrington, and Matthew Josephson.
The most famous progressive historian was Charles A. Beard. He published An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution; it was considered the most influential book ever written of American history. In this book he argued that the Constitution was not wrote by wise men who attempted to balance liberty and order, but of a clique of wealthy merchants and landowners who wanted a central government strong enough to defend their privileges against unruly masses.
The Consensus, also known as Neo-Conservatives, was dominant from 1945 until 1980. Consensus historians asserted the unity and homogeneity of America?s past, the stability of basic institutions, and the existence of a homogeneous national character. Famous historians of the Consensus include: Hal Bridges, Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Harold Livesay, H.W. Brands, Edward A. Purcell, Jr., Albro Martin, Louis Galambos, and Hugh G.J. Aitken. Consensus historians, like the Progressive historians, were anti-businessmen.
Consensus historians doubted the value of social change by observing a world brutalized by fascism and communism which caused them to have fear of Consensus movements.
The last and most recent historian group in dominance is the New Left, which derived from the Old Marxists beliefs, except that the New Left believe that only a violent rebellion against the government will initiate the rise of Communism and eventually lead to its success. The New Left believes that America is bad and evil country. Some very popular historians of involved in the New Left, such as: Gabriel Kolko, David Noble, James Livingston, David Montgomery, and Walter Licht. New Leftism is very popular among certain lawyers and many college professors in today?s society. They believe that whatever happens to the United States is good because the ?United States are getting back what they deserve?. They also believe that every white American should have to repay the African-Americans and Native Americans back for the pain and suffering that past Americans have put towards them.
The New Left ideas look fantastic on paper, but it only looks good on paper and the ideas of the New Left fail when they are enacted in real life.
History is only written by the winners, so are the New Left the winners The answer is no, the New Left are only given this dominance for a short while. When they all die out, so will their psychotic ideas and poor visions for America. Maybe the Nationalists will rise again with the 9-11 attacks and the overwhelming patriotism. But the New Left will never see their plans be carried out and America will see to that. -M