Michael Beschloss says this isn't the most politically divisive time in AmericaHistorians in the News
tags: civil rights, Civil War, Vietnam War, Michael Beschloss, Revolutionary War
... “The things we obsess about today, in 40 years seem trivial,” said Michael Beschloss, an author and a presidential historian. “Historians often find important decisions few knew were important at the time.”
Beschloss, who has written books about Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and more, talked Wednesday about the importance of perspective — the long view — in politics and history.
Too many people, he argued, are quick to dismiss the modern era of their times as the worst or the most divisive political moment in American history. Most are wrong.
The political climate after the Revolutionary War was much more polarized, and so were the environments during and after the Civil War and during and after the Civil Rights era, including the Vietnam War.
Building, saving and sharing its history is how a democratic republic improves itself, Beschloss said.
Americans, he said, shed blood so that we could debate as vigorously and openly as people do today. The founders, he said, would be proud of that part of modern political culture, even Twitter.
What needs work, he said, is the second half of what the founders wanted — bringing opposing interests together over solutions that make nobody completely happy but still advance the public interest.
“They wanted people to fight over policies but come together at the end and say we are all Americans,” Beschloss said in an interview. Americans, he said, should remember that wisdom. ...
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