David Barton’s Misleading Footnote #1

Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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4 Responses

  1. Tod Kelly says:

    At this point is Barton anything other than a tribal litmus test?

    I ask this in all sincerity. My sister has been, at one time or another, the editor of a number of early-American historical academic journals. Whenever I ask her or her colleague friends about what they think of Barton, their response is always the same: “David who?”

    It seems like there is a small culture or right-leaning and left-leaning history buffs who follow Barton religiously (no pun intended), and that their collective hair shirt seems to be to either build him up or to tear him down in the interest of current political battles that rarely have anything to do with early American history.Report

    • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I think this is the case not just with Barton, but with much if not all of this line of inquiry. By which I mean the role of (a particular strain of the Christian) religion in the American Founding Fathers. That’s not to say that there is not real, interesting research on the topic, just that most, if not all of the stuff to which Barton’s work might be even remotely related takes place within a relatively small circle outside of mainstream historical scholarship.

      The people who care about it really, really care about it, though.Report

      • Jon Rowe in reply to Chris says:

        Though it’s amazing how we can miss something that might be “of interest” that’s right there under our nose.

        I kid you not, a different notable professor of law who works in NY and specializes in Church-State issues lives near me in Washington’s Crossing. (I live down the river in Yardley/Lower Makefield). I asked her (via email) if she were aware of the David Library (located in Washington’s Crossing) and she said she had never heard of them.Report

    • Jon Rowe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Yeah I was once at a pub with a very distinguished law professional who specializes in church and state issues and he too did the “who is David Barton”? thing.

      I don’t mind Glenn Beck as much as I’d imagine a lot of folks here do. I think it was dumb of him to throw his hat in with Barton. That gave Barton a boost.Report