I was just reading through an e-mail I received from History News Network called Roundup Top 10 and was once again hit by what I consider historical bias.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think the site is a great clearing house for current news and blogs about history. However, when I get an e-mail like the Roundup Top 10 that gathers a lot of headlines in one place, you can’t help but see the bias.
When trying to classify the different types of bias I see among the historians on this site, I kept coming back to political viewpoint. I don’t mean Republican or Democrat so much as Conservative versus Liberal.
Now I’ve never been much interested in history that is picked apart to be analyzed to fit a particular viewpoint. Whether or not the author admits this is happening, I think it should be obvious. Have you ever seen a historian who is liberal in politics write a book or article praising a conservative view as successful?
If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.-Sir Isaac Newton
This tends to follow the trend that you can read in some history that judges previous generations by today’s standards rather than viewing the people within the context of their time and how far they were able to move the ball forward while they lived.
History should tell the factual story in context and leave it to the reader to decide whether someone or something that happened was good or bad. These are the histories that last because become useful to multiple generations in learning about the subject rather than the author’s beliefs.