Why Historians for Obama Matter

Today 26 of the nations leading historians signed a letter endorsing Barack Obama for president. You may say that they are historians who cares about people to document the past. But as a history buff I believe history will shape the future. These historians know the great figures of the past. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy. And they can tell if someone will be a leader in that tradition. And they are joining millions of Americans who are inspired and are ready to change the world.

First they lay out the great challenges that face our nation:

Our country is in serious trouble. The gap between the wealthy elite and the working majority grows ever larger, tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance and others risk bankruptcy when they get seriously ill, and many public schools do a poor job of educating the next generation. Due to the arrogant, inept foreign policy of the current administration, more people abroad mistrust and fear the United States than at any time since the height of the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, global warming speeds toward an unprecedented catastrophe. Many Republicans and overwhelming numbers of Independents and Democrats believe that, under George W. Bush, the nation has badly lost its way. The 2008 election thus comes at a critical time in the history of the United States and the world.

And then they present out what the next leader of our country can do. And who has the potential to do it.

A president can alter the mood of the nation, making changes possible that once seemed improbable. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and kept the nation united; Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Americans to embrace Social Security and more democratic workplaces; John F. Kennedy advanced civil rights and an anti-poverty program.

Barack Obama has the potential to be that kind of president. He has the varied background of a global citizen: his father was African, his stepfather Indonesian, his mother worked in the civil rights movement, and he spent several years of his childhood overseas. As an adult, he has been a community organizer, a law professor, and a successful politician - both at the state and national level. These experiences have given him an acute awareness of the inequalities of race and class, while also equipping him to speak beyond them.

That is exactly why I think Barack Obama bring about the change we need. Can't you see Barack Obama leading the fight for Universal Health Care just as FDR lead the fight for Social Security? Can you see him signing the Abolition Proclamation to abolish of nuclear weapons once and for all? Can you see him challenging the nation to undertake our next great challenge, solving global warming and our dependence on forign oil, by making a new green society just as JFK challenged us to put a man on the moon? I sure can. Can you believe again?

As president, Barack Obama would only begin the process of healing what ails our society and ensuring that the U.S. plays a beneficial role in the world. But we believe he is that rare politician who can stretch the meaning of democracy, who can help revive what William James called "the civic genius of the people." We invite other historians to add your name to this statement. You can do so by contacting mk8@georgetown.edu and/or Ralph Luker, ralphluker@mindspring.com

These historians have spent there lives learning about the horrors in our nations history and they believe that Barack Obama can lead us together to a new page in our history. These 26 men and women believe that together we can:

Joyce Appleby, University of California, Los Angeles*
David Blight, Yale University
Edward J. Blum, San Diego State University
Clayborne Carson, Stanford University
Dennis C. Dickerson, Vanderbilt University
W. Marvin Dulaney, College of Charleston
James Grossman, Newberry Library
Nancy A. Hewitt, Rutgers University
Jonathan Holloway, Yale University
Randal Jelks, Calvin College
Robert KC Johnson, Brooklyn College
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Steven Lawson, Rutgers University
James Livingston, Rutgers University
Ralph E. Luker, Cliopatria
James McPherson, Princeton University
Albert J. Raboteau, Princeton University
Edward B. Rugemer, Yale University
Nick Salvatore, Cornell University
Daniel J. Singal, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Harvard Sitkoff, University of New Hampshire
Daniel Soyer, Fordham University
Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara
Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia
Craig Steven Wilder, Dartmouth College
David W. Wills, Amherst College

*Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and, of course, do not indicate an institutional endorsement.

Will you join them? We have just 37 days until the Iowa caucuses and the winner is likely to become president of the United States of America. If we all work together we can make sure that person won't just be better then Bush, we can elect a leader who will transform America, and the world forever.

If you donate today you could join Barack Obama himself on the campaign trail. If you had a chance to campaign with FDR would you pass it up? Together my friends we can change the world, but only if we try.

35 days 'till change

Tags: 2008 elections, Barack Obama, Historians for Obama, president, Primaries (all tags)



Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Barack Obama can't change his underwear, much less history or America.

And I didn't see anybody from the University of Michigan on that list.

by ThinkingDem 2007-11-28 12:27PM | 0 recs
He can't his underwear?

No offense but that's the stupidest comment I've ever read on MyDD.

by Populista 2007-11-28 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: He can't his underwear?

Having attended the University of Michigan myself, I now know where this commentor is coming from.

by Steve M 2007-11-28 01:52PM | 0 recs
or Columbia....

wonder why?

by holden caulfield 2007-11-28 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

I'm with you populista!  Obama '08!  These Hillary people wouldn't know reality if it came up and bit them in the ass!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

They create their own reality--it dysfunctional and  reminiscent of an alcoholic family.

by aiko 2007-11-28 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Oh stop it. He never said God was supporting his campaign.

by Piuma 2007-11-28 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Gladiatorstail, you rock.

Obama/Huckabee 2008.

by ThinkingDem 2007-11-28 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

So you've never heard of someone who studies Religious History or the History of Religion?  The desparation in here is starting to stink the place up!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Yeah, because no politicians ever speak in religious tones.  Abe Lincoln, JFK, FDR, LBJ?  I gotta tell ya, I'm agnostic, and I'm able to realize that there are good Christians and bad ones.  Barack Obama is not a fundamentalist, lunatic.  And all Christians are not evil.  As someone who doesn't vote on religion, Democrats do often come off as disdainful of religion and Christianity, and in a country where 90% of people say they believe in God, it's probably not an excellent campaign tactic to tell them that they're all crazies!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

And I'm not saying that Dems actually are disdainful of religion, but they say politics is perception.

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Oh yeah, and let me also add that a lot of Christians, including my mother, see themselves as instuments of God.  And oh yeah:  "With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Also, this ^ is ludicrous, have ya heard Jimmy Carter.  He's the reason evangelicals are all up in the mix now.  Evangelicals are a big reason he was elected in 76

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Were you paying attention when a bunch of black SC preachers endorsed Hillary the other day?  You think they are performing committment ceremonies on the weekends at their churches?  I DOUBT THAT!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Trust me, as someone who grew up in the black church, they probably spend more than a few of their 52 Sundays a year preaching vehement hate for that very segment of the population.  Just because you except someone's endorsement or support doesn't mean that you're:  A.) Beholden to them, or B.) In agreement with everything they say or believe!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

It was him using an entertainer to draw a crowd.  Would I have used that idiot, no!  But there are plenty of people like his music and they probably came out to the even simply because he would be there.  I think he was wrong to give him his microphone, but let's not pretend that it means he wants to make McClurkin the Secretary of De-Gayification!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

See this is what is wrong with you idiots on here.  Now McClurkin is elevated to the LEVEL OF THE FUCKING KKK?  What are you FUCKING STUPID?  Is he hanging gay people?  Is he preaching the purification of sexual orientation through violence and murder.  I can't believed just turned what could've been a fairly civil discussion and turned into a load of steaming bullshit.  You people on this website are assholes!  You just demostrated the very THING---the sick, evil thing that is wrong with American politics.  WTF is wrong with you fucking people?

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter


by General Sherman 2007-11-28 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

LMAO I don't understand it?  I am GAY ASSHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by dlh77489 2007-11-28 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Dude, just stop.  You're just making yourself look stupider and stupider.

by ReggieH 2007-11-29 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

People who study the role of religion throughout history are actually likely to be quite clear-eyed about why religion needs to be kept separate from politics and what happens if you don't.

by Steve M 2007-11-28 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

Gladiator, I realize you're not a serious person but I will treat you as if you are one in case I'm mistaken.  If you're worried about Obama's religion, here is a piece he wrote about how religion intermixes with his politics.  I'm sure you will find a whole trove of things you can try to twist around.  But I would say, when Muslim fundamentalism is one of the biggest issues the next President needs to deal with, someone who is as comfortable talking about faith and how that should translate into our lives is the type of person we need.  A little history of Religion could be a very useful thing in our next Administration.

by Piuma 2007-11-28 06:45PM | 0 recs
by Piuma 2007-11-28 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

As I said, I know you're not a serious person.

by Piuma 2007-11-28 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

The un-serious part is to equate anything Bush has said or done with Obama.  Clearly his faith is quite different than Bush's, as well as his understanding of the Constitution in that regard.  I doubt you will ever find Bush making this statement:

I ALSO WANT to look at what conservative leaders need to do, some truths they need to acknowledge. For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn't the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the forebears of the evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religion, because they did not want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it.


Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

This is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy-making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

by Piuma 2007-11-28 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Historians for Obama Matter

I can't imagine Edwards saying something like that - Obama: "we can create a kingdom right here on Earth."

by annefrank 2007-11-29 05:54AM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads