America is Losing its Memory

I will suggest that an article by T.J. Stiles should be required reading by all Americans. (T.J. Stiles is a member of the governing boards of the Society of American Historians and the Organization of American Historians. He received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and the 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction.)

Stiles starts by writing:

“America is losing its memory. The National Archives and Records Administration is in a budget crisis. More than a resource for historians or museum of founding documents, NARA stands at the heart of American democracy. It keeps the accounts of our struggles and triumphs, allows the people to learn what their government has done and is doing and it maintains records that fill in family histories. Genealogy researchers depend on it, as do journalists filing Freedom of Information Act requests. If Congress doesn’t save it, we all will suffer.”

You can read the full article in the Bangor Daily News‘ web site at: http://bit.ly/2WzLGjL.

7 Comments

David Paul Davenport May 11, 2019 at 2:08 am

I agree with Stiles and so should every american. Our failure to know our history is manifest daily in the “news” that is generate by ignorant people who are “clueless.” In retrospect I wish our founding fathers would have required a “literacy test” of all voters and something equivalent to an SAT or ACT text for candidates for office because we are electing the least among us to high office and not the best and the brightest. Sad, very sad.

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    I understand why you think we need a literacy test to vote, but that is not a new concept.
    After the Civil War, literacy tests were widely used in the South to keep former slaves from voting. At some point, the use of those tests was declared to be unconstitutional. My statement isn’t meant to contest your point that many voters are unable to parse the statements and positions of candidates, just that the use of such tests is not possible.

    Liked by 1 person

What a surprise. Absolutely Orwellian.

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Budget cuts to NARA have become readily apparent to those of us who frequently order copies of U.S. military pension records for those who served during the mid-19th century. Over the past couple of years, NARA turn-around times have increased from about two weeks to four months.

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I am sure if you remind Mr Trump that HIS papers will need to be dealt with eventually. The money will forthcoming.

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    Not likely. He seems to want everything to do with his administration to remain perpetually top secret. What better way to insure no historian ever sees any of his papers that he is prevented by law from erasing or destroying than to close all the Archives and libraries?

    Liked by 1 person

Terri Pristas Anderson May 30, 2019 at 2:45 am

Wow. Biased much? The article stated that CONGRESS must save NARA. How handy it is to just blame Trump for everything.

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