New Republic – Trump’s Ignorance is Radicalizing Historians. Let’s get a march together. Doris Kearns Goodwin – you can lead if you like.
Such public criticism is new for Greenberg. “I haven’t critiqued a sitting president before,” she told me on Tuesday. “I’m a historian.” But now, precisely because she’s a historian, she says she’s “speaking out in favor of elected officials knowing basic, elementary level U.S. history.” “If we had an undergrad who wrote what Trump said in an essay, that student would not pass that exam,” she said. “That student would fail.”
There are many dangers to the lack of civics knowledge and the shallow teaching of American history. The greatest danger though is the politicization of history and the history deniers, which already exist.
Some historians fear that, given how partisanship increasingly dictates what Americans believe, many Americans will believe Trump’s alternative history. “Before you know it, we may have a new term: history deniers,” said Yale University historian David Blight.
Who is David Barton but a self-professed right wing historian who has written books and papers filled with nonsense that real historians revile. The right wing have already adopted Barton and some other names as “their” historians – because they’re willing to twist the truth to say such things as slavery was good for black people or the Founding Fathers were all devout Christians that wanted a Christian country. Blight’s fears are already in existence.