Civil War Era Studies
In 1931, Carl Becker, president of the American Historical Association, the largest professional organization of historians, gave a speech in which he tried to distill history to its very essence. In that address, “Everyman His Own Historian,” Becker declared that history reduced to its lowest terms was the “memory of things said and done.” Using that simple definition, Becker argued that everyone, no matter whether they had professional training or expertise, was in some way, at some point in time, an historian. Everyone at some time in their lives did as a historian does – asks a question about the past and researches it, using evidence to come up with the most logical conclusion. [excerpt]
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Dinkelaker, Jacob, "Meet Mr. Everyman: Everyone His Own Interpreter" (2012). Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public. 136.