I was reading the syllabus for one of my Master's classes in Military Studies (more on that later) when I came upon a sentence from my instructor. "(12) Judge people's actions within the context of their society, moral code, legal system, economic position, religion, culture, etc. Remember that humans are complex and so are societies. DO NOT assign 2008 mores or value judgements to people of other periods or cultures. (13) Failure to heed the advice of paragraph 12 will result in a severe grade penalty. An historian must be objective, analytical, and critical, otherwise he/she is merely a propagandist."

I found this interesting when I was watching the Military Channel the other day. They had on a program about the Revolutionary War, you know, the war waged primarily by Anglo-Saxon, white males, some of whom [gasp] owned slaves. Now when I was a kid in school, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and their peers were still rather esteemed men who were given the proper credit for founding this country and winning our independence through a long and arduous struggle. Now it seems, every historian on the program has to mention that they owned slaves. Now I understand about the evils of slavery and how the Founding Fathers were less than perfect, but please, is that all historians talk about these days? And, I hate to be way PC, but women and Indians did not have a whole lot to do with the fighting and dying in the Revolution. Certainly, many patriotic colonists did their part, but most of the fighting was done by white males.

Just my thought on the issue. I wish more historians would heed my instructor's admonition, maybe history would make more sense than trying to rewrite it with 2008 morals and values and make sure that every ethnic and cultural group is given equal credit.

By the way, before we lay too much judgement on our ancestors, just think how some of our mores and values will seem 100 years from now...