". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, November 24, 2014

Favorite Line of the Week So Far

From David Blight, summing up Andrew Johnson, as a states' rights Unionist from Tennessee, hates black people, total white supremacist, festering resentment of the planter class, self-made success and politician:
"He was a complicated guy.
[Meditative Pause] 
 He could have been interesting."

Yah.  This was one of the times Lincoln politically screwed the pooch.  Maybe if there wasn't a white supremacist as vp, assassinating Lincoln may not have been seen as such a good idea, then Reconstruction would have gone the path Lincoln had planned, and so on and so forth.  But that's 100% counterfactual, which has no place in writing history.

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