Humanists readily understand the "value" of what we teach, study, and write. We too often forget that this is less obvious to many of our neighbors, and have not developed a deep and wide advocacy movement to promote humanistic thinking and work.
The discussion that follows is important to all historians: whether or not you teach U.S. history (or teach at all, for that matter), or work for a public institution, in Texas or elsewhere. This is not because the NAS report from which it springs is particularly compelling.
President Obama’s second inaugural offers all Americans food for thought, but it has particular valences for historians. Like so many in this genre, it draws on the past to legitimize particular values, to highlight what has been accomplished (and what has not), and to justify a definition of national character and purpose.