On 28 August 2017, the American Historical Association (AHA) issued a “Statement on Confederate Monuments” that presumed to speak for the entire American historical profession on the issue of whether these monuments should remain or if they should be removed from public spaces.
Unfortunately this “statement” is little more than historical establishment claptrap disguised as highbrow intellectual discourse—par for the course in the modern profession—replete with distortions, exaggerations, half-truths, and presentism myths.
The “statement” opens by suggesting that the AHA “welcomes the emerging national debate about Confederate monuments…” but suggests that “Much of this public statuary was erected without such conversations, and without any public decision-making process.”
The “statement” later concludes by asserting that “Nearly all monuments to the Confederacy and its leaders were erected without anything resembling a democratic process. Regardless of their representation in the actual population in any given constituency, African Americans had no voice and no opportunity to raise questions about the purposes or likely impact of the honor accorded to the builders of the Confederate States of America.”
Both arguments are disingenuous at best. The “public statuary” in question did involve conversations both North and South, not just about Confederate monuments, but about general American iconography, and every monument involved some type of “public decision-making process.”
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