NYU Steinhardt News

Florida Law Banning Revisionist History Ignores the Past, Zimmerman Writes

Source: Los Angeles Times

Jonathan Zimmerman writes that a newly signed Florida law barring the teaching of revisionist history in public schools fails to look at the past.

In signing the legislation, Florida Governor Jeb Bush said, “The history of the United States shall be taught as genuine history
and shall not follow the revisionist or postmodernist viewpoints of relative truth. American history shall be viewed as factual, not as
constructed."

"Hardly a brainchild of the flower-power '60s, the concept of historical interpretation has been at the heart of our profession from the 1920s onward,” Zimmerman writes in a June 7 op/ed that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. “Before that time, to be sure, some historians believed that they could render a purely factual and objective account of the past. But most of them had given up on what historian Charles Beard called the ‘noble dream’ by the interwar period, when scholars came to realize that the very selection of facts was an act of interpretation.