Patriotism and History

Speaking about the biases that can influence the way an historian writes history, Charles Francis Adams Jr. says,

For in the study of history there should be but one law for all. Patriotism, piety and filial duty have nothing to do with it;–they are, indeed, mere snares and sources of delusion. The rules and canons of criticism applied in one case and to one character, must be sternly and scrupulously applied in all other similar cases and to all other characters; and, while surrounding circumstances should, and, indeed, must be taken into careful consideration, no matter who is concerned. Patriotism in the study of history is but another name for provincialism. To see history truly and correctly, it must be viewed as a whole.

Charles Francis Adams, Massachusetts: Its Historians and Its History, An Object LessonĀ (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1893), 12.

Though his primary concern is patriotism when it comes to writing on colonial history, this can apply just as readily to Christian historians who obscure the past to serve pious ends.