The Antihistory Party

After taking her notepad and pen into Boston bars, Harvard historian Jill Lepore is ready to level a charge at the Tea Party: abuse of history.

"Two things separate antihistory from its prefix-less sibling. First, and most obvious, antihistory gets stuff wrong. In our interview, [Harvard historian Jill] Lepore cites the example of Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who, in defending herself to The New York Times, claimed that 'those words, ‘too conservative,’ is fairly relative. I’m sure that they probably said that about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.' The idea of Franklin and Jefferson as social conservatives would certainly surprise their contemporaries, who knew Jefferson for his religious skepticism and Franklin for his public abolitionism. The second—and, for Lepore, more serious—problem with antihistory is that it hijacks history’s raw materials."

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