The Southern historian’s view of the conflict is not considered objective unless “he accepts and proclaims the Northern (i.e., “national”) interpretation of Southern things.” A non-Northern viewpoint is considered by court historians as merely perpetuating the “myth of the Lost Cause.”
Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org
Machines and Objectivity
“Once, years ago, a Southern historian beckoned me aside and led me to a room . . . “Look,” he said. An enormous machine occupied about half the room, and a graduate assistant was feeding punch cards into it. With inhuman noise and precision, the machine was sorting the cards.
The historian closed the door upon the noise and, with a kind of Stonewall Jackson glint in his eye, explained. Documentation, he said – mere documentation – would never convince the North. Mere argument was futile.
But if he could say, in a footnote to his forthcoming publication, that the figures in his statistical tables had been achieved by the assistance of a card-sorting machine (he would carefully cite the machine’s name and model), then the Yankees might hearken to both his documentation and his argument.
The machine, a guarantee of his “objectivity,” would remove his work from the area of suspicion that a study originating in the South would normally occupy.”
(Still Rebels, Still Yankees, and Other Essays, Donald Davidson, LSU Press, 1957, pp. 180-181)