Why the U.S. President Needs a Council of Historical Advisers

10 Aug

Historians Graham Allison and Niall Ferguson argue for a presidential council of historians in the current Atlantic: Why the U.S. President Needs a Council of Historical Advisers – The Atlantic

Their case is worth considering, but, as my friend John Fea has pointed out, another historian–Jeremy Adelman–offers some cautions in the Chronicle of Higher Education about their proposal.

Yes, historians have things to contribute to thinking about and implementing policy. However, historical perspective is neither uniform nor without context–in short, historians don’t all agree, and historians are themselves enmeshed in their own times. Thus, any wisdom must be offered with humility.

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