Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2011

Abstract

In her recent book The Whites of Their Eyes Jill Lepore argues that today’s conservatives’ embrace of the founding is not just another example of citizens using the Revolution for political purposes—which generations of Americans have done—but instead an attack on the very idea of history. Tea Partiers, she concludes, practice a form of “antihistory.”

“In antihistory,” Lepore writes, “time is an illusion. Either we’re there, two hundred years ago, or they’re here, among us.” To Tea Partiers, there is no distance between the past and present; the past is not a foreign country. To believe that the founders can speak to us directly, not mediated by the mists of time, “is to subscribe to a set of assumptions about the relationship between the past and the present stricter, even, than the strictest form of constitutional originalism.” It is to be, Lepore argues, a historical “fundamentalist.”

Publication Title

Historically Speaking

Volume

12

Issue

5

First Page

2

Last Page

5

Required Publisher's Statement

Published by Johns Hopkins University Press

DOI: 10.1353/hsp.2011.0069

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History Commons

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