Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Historian's Code - from the U.S. army of all places!

A Historian's Code (1)

1.      I will footnote (or endnote) all my sources (none of this MLA or
social science parenthetical business).
2.      If I do not reference my sources accurately, I will surely
perish in the fires of various real or metaphorical infernal regions and
I will completely deserve it.  I have been warned.
3.      I will respect the hard-won historical gains of those historians
in whose steps I walk and will share such knowledge as is mine with all
other historians (as they doubtless will cheerfully share it with me).
4.      I will not be ashamed to say "I do not know" or to change my
narrative of historical events when new sources point to my errors.
5.      I will never leave a fallen book behind.
6.      I will acknowledge that history is created by people and not by
impersonal cosmic forces or "isms."  An "ism" by itself never harmed or
helped anyone without human agency.
7.      I am not a sociologist, political scientist, international
relations-ist, or any other such "ist."  I am a historian and deal in
facts, not models.
8.      I know I have a special responsibility to the truth and will
seek, as fully as I can, to be thorough, objective, careful, and
balanced in my judgments, relying on primary source documents whenever
9.      Life may be short, but history is forever.  I am a servant of

(1)    Stewart, Richard, Ph.D., "Historians and a Historian's Code,"
ARMY HISTORY, No. 77 (Fall 2010), p. 46.

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