Civil War Era Studies
Presentism. Aside from historical revisionism, it is perhaps the 'epithet' with which the modern historian find themselves branded the most. I've been reading again a series of screeds by Bill Vallante, a Confederate reenactor and SCV member from Commack, NY (thanks to John Hennessy). I've read these pages before, but this time around was struck by the abject vitriol which oozes from the language employed. A line in one piece in particular stood out to me as quite angry:
"Add a heavy dose of presentism (judging or interpreting the past according to the standards of the present), mix thoroughly and serve COLD to an unknowing, non-thinking viewing public and call it... HISTORY." [excerpt]
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Rudy, John M., ""...the way things were back then": Why Making Excuses for Slavery Doesn't Work" (2011). Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public. 213.