“The 14,000 members of this Association, however, know that revision is the lifeblood of historical scholarship.
History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past.
Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time.
There is no single, eternal, and immutable “truth” about past events and their meaning.
The unending quest of historians for understanding the past—that is, “revisionism”—is what makes history vital and meaningful. Without revisionism, we might be stuck with the images of Reconstruction after the American Civil War that were conveyed by D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation and Claude Bowers’s The Tragic Era. Were the Gilded Age entrepreneurs “Captains of Industry” or “Robber Barons”?
Without revisionist historians who have done research in new sources and asked new and nuanced questions, we would remain mired in one or another of these stereotypes.