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.