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The West has two great ancient pillars and exemplars of what it is to be a historian. Herodotus and Thucydides, who wrote in Greece about 2,500 years ago, set standards that are still with us today. Thankfully, neither scribe ever served as the president of the American Historical Association. With their commitment to truth and honesty, neither would have lasted 10 minutes.
The man who is at the helm of the AHA is James Sweet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and he is the latest public academic figure to debase himself in a Cultural Revolution style apology for saying perfectly normal things.
So what was his offense? In his August column in AHA’s magazine Perspectives on History he questioned whether ‘teleological presentism” was hurting the discipline.
Conservatives, and critical historians, have generally argued that the 1619 Project distorted the true history of the U.S. with many of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ claims. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Teleological presentism is a fancy term, but not a complicated one. It means looking at the past through a lens of current moral, social or political judgments. Sweet criticized historical content, like the 1619 Project, which argues