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to get a handgun license and local Gun Stores, Gun Ranges, People, Clubs, Gunshows,
Hunting & Shooting related events.
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This web page was highlighted in the NRA ALERT
Grassroots Alert Vol. 9, No. 51 12/20/02
THE CASE AGAINST
Michael Bellesiles' book
"Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture"
While it has been several years since
the book was debunked, people are still talking about it. CLICK
HERE to see an article at the Conglomerate BLOG:
James Lindgren & The Debunking of a Historian
Lindgren spoke to the Federalist Society at the University of
Wisconsin today about his extensive work debunking the claims contained
in Michael Bellesiles’s Arming America: The Origins of a National
Gun Culture. Jim's law review article on the subject is HERE,
and there is no shortage of stories in the popular press.
NEWS UPDATE 12/13/02:COLUMBIA
UNIVERSITY'S BOARD OF TRUSTEES VOTES
TO RESCIND THE 2001
1/8/03 Publisher Alfred A. Knopf will not
print 2nd edition and "We are in the process of ending our contractual arrangement
with Michael for 'Arming America,"
"Tarnished history book publication halted"
WASHINGTON TIMES Discredited volume on U.S. gun culture going out of print
"As a responsible publisher, we thought it best to let the book go out of
NEWS UPDATE 1/28/03
9th Circuit Court of Appeals forced to amend Silveira v. Lockyer Second Amendment
case to exclude citations from Bellesiles
Circuit Court Ditches Anti-gun "History" Professor at KeepAndBearArms.com
NEW UPDATE 4/15/05
I was prompted by a student doing a
report to do some additional research on this topic and came across
the following links from the Idaho
Librarian. Both of these articles are a must read and the best articles
that I have seen in a while.
A Record Enriched:
The Case for a Library Catalog Note for Michael Bellesiles’s
The Origins of a National Gun Culture
I (This is an outline of the background and history of
the controversy over Arming America and offers a rare glimpse into
the biography of a book in which author, publisher, reviewers, award
committees, the media, academics, and librarians have all played roles.)
II concludes the discussion of the controversy over
Arming America by suggesting how librarians might respond: viz. by placing
a note in the library’s catalog record for the book which informs
patrons about the book’s intellectual and historical context.
With the information that much if not all of
the data used to write the book, Arming America, was false,
I decided to see if any libraries in Orange County had the book on the
shelf. In April, I used the internet to search and found that 14
libraries in the area, including some in Orange County, had the book.
I decided to see if I could get one library to remove the book. I
chose the Goshen Library, at random, to see if they would remove the book
based on the fact that it had been discredited. I called the library
and on April 30th, 2002 I sent them follow up e-mails. The
Library Director was very nice and willing to base her decision on the
Removing a book from a library should not
be done lightly and should be done only after careful consideration and
then based only on facts in evidence. Even then, some books that
contain some errors or misrepresentation should not necessary be removed.
The recent books by Goodwin and Ambrose contained plagiarism but are examples
of books that still might be worth keeping. Arming America,
however, is a book that has been as discredited almost as much as any book
can be discredited and is in a class by itself.
The Goshen Library should be be complimented for
its willingness to listen and then make a rational decision based only
on the presented facts including research by others and Emory University's
final report and findings. I will be contacting other libraries to ask
them to remove the book in the next few months.
The following are a list of some of the links
and articles I have found. #9 is my original e-mail to the Goshen
Library and #10 is the Goshen Library's final reply.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, From the issue dated February 1, 2002,
Did the Shootouts Over 'Arming America' Divert Attention From the Real
Issues? Scholars heaped praise on a book, ignoring critics who have been
vindicated on many points, By DANNY POSTEL
Clayton Cramer's information on the book and lots of links to articles
about the book.
Disarming America, One of the worst cases of academic irresponsibility
in memory. By Melissa Seckora, NR editorial associate October 15, 2001
issue, Originally posted September 11, 2001
Disarming America, Part II, Why won’t Michael Bellesiles seriously
respond to his critics? By Melissa Seckora, NR editorial associate,
November 26, 2001
Nation Review OnLine Disarming America, Part III, Award-winning
author Michael Bellesiles changes his story again. A report by Melissa
Seckora, NR editorial associate, January 29, 2002
what we know, it would appear to be impossible to count guns in San Francisco
probate inventories from 1849-50 or 1858-59 in our collection, since we
have no such inventories.
Last, we cannot confirm that Professor Bellesiles did substantial research
in our collection in 1993 (as he claims) or at any other time before his
visit in January, 2002. We do not remember him visiting our collection
before his recent visit. We have searched our log books and invoices for
the years 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996 and find no record for research fees
or photocopies. Further, we are not cited or acknowledged in his book,
something we always expect and receive.
Oct. 25: Michael Bellesiles Resigns from Emory Faculty, October 25, 2002,
Robert A. Paul, Interim Dean of Emory College
I have accepted the resignation of Michael
Bellesiles from his position as Professor of History at Emory University,
effective December 31, 2002.
Although we would not normally release any of the materials connected
with a case involving the investigation of faculty misconduct in research,
in light of the intense scholarly interest in the matter I have decided,
with the assent of Professor Bellesiles as well as of the members of the
Investigative Committee, to make public the report of the Investigative
Committee appointed by me to evaluate the allegations made against Professor
Bellesiles (none of the supporting documents, however, are being made public).
The text of the report is now available online at www.emory.edu/central/NEWS/.
Emory considers the report authoritative.
In conducting this investigation, Emory has
scrupulously observed the procedures laid out in our published policy statement
regarding matters of alleged research misconduct. Throughout the investigation
process our efforts have been guided by the objectives of maintaining the
highest standards of scholarly integrity, while also striving to ensure
the confidentiality of the proceedings and to protect the rights of a member
of Emory's faculty.
The Investigative Committee was chaired by
Stanley N. Katz, Professor of Public and International Affairs, Princeton
University, and included Hanna H. Gray, Judson Distinguished Professor
of History Emerita and President Emerita, University of Chicago, and Laurel
Thatcher Ulrich, James Duncan Phillips Professor of History, Harvard University.
I hereby express my appreciation to these distinguished scholars for contributing
their effort and expertise to the resolution of this matter of such great
importance not only to Emory but to the wider scholarly community. Committee
members have stated that they will not discuss or respond to questions
about the investigation or the report.
Emory also wishes to express its thanks and
appreciation to Professor Bellesiles for his many years of service and
his many valuable contributions to the University.
Emory now considers the investigation of allegations
of research misconduct against Professor Bellesiles in connection with
his book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture to be concluded
REPORT, of the Investigative Committee in the matter of Professor Michael
Bellesiles, 10 July 2002
Selected sections from the report:
The most egregious misrepresentation has to do with his handling of
the more than 900 cases reported by Alice Hanson Jones. When critics pointed
out that Jones’ data disagreed with his, Bellesiles responded by explaining
that he did NOT include Jones’s data in his computations because her inventories,
taken during the build-up to the American revolution, showed a disproportionately
high number of guns! Here is a clear admission of misrepresentation, since
the label on column one in Table One clearly says "1765-1790." If Professor
Bellesiles silently excluded data from the years 1774- 1776, as he asserts,
because they failed to show low numbers of guns, he has willingly misrepresented
the evidence. This, compounded with all the other inconsistencies in his
description of his method and sources and the fact that neither he nor
anyone else has been able to replicate any part of his data, suggest that
there is a real discrepancy between the research Professor Bellesiles did
and his presentation of that research in Table One. ... In summary, we
find on Questions 1 and 2,
that despite serious failures of and carelessness in the gathering
and presentation of archival records and the use of quantitative analysis,
we cannot speak of intentional fabrication or falsification. On Question
3, we find that the strained character of Professor Bellesiles’ explanation
raises questions about his veracity with respect to his account of having
consulted probate records in San Francisco County. On Question 4, dealing
with the construction of the vital Table One, we find evidence of falsification.
And on Question 5, which raises the standard of professional historical
scholarship, we find that Professor Bellesiles falls short on all three
MY ORIGINAL E-MAIL TO THE GOSHEN LIBRARY:
Thank you for your help
Michael A. Bellesiles's Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun
This is a link to the article:
University asks historian to defend his research on gun ownership
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff, 10/3/2001 Emory University historian
Michael A. Bellesiles, author of a controversial book on gun ownership
in early America, has been asked by his department to write a detailed
defense of his research for the book. The 2000 book, ''Arming America:
The Origins of a National Gun Culture,'' won the prestigious Bancroft
Prize for history, but a story last month in the Globe appeared to
confirm a pattern of questionable research claims. ''What is important
is that he defend himself and the integrity of his scholarship immediately,''
said James Melton, Emory history department chairman. ''Depending
upon his reponse, the university will respond appropriately.''
Melton added, ''If there is prima facie evidence of scholarly misconduct,
the university has to conduct a thorough investigation. Whether it
be a purely internal inquiry, or the university brings in distinguished
scholars in the field, will depend on how Michael responds. It is
important that he be accorded due process.'' Bellesiles's book
argued that few Americans had owned guns in early America, and that
more than half of those that were owned were old or broken. The book
set off a storm of protest by gun-owner organizations, but independent
scholars also raised serious questions about the veracity of Bellesiles's
research. The Globe story confirmed allegations that San Francisco
probate records, which Bellesiles had cited in his book as one of
his sources, had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. It also
confirmed that an article by Bellesiles on his Web site, defending his
work, misstated the contents of some 18th-century Vermont probate
records. Melton, in a telephone interview yesterday, said, ''I advised
him that he needed to find a public professional forum where he would
give a full and complete response to the allegations against him.''
Melton's letter to Bellesiles asked for ''a detailed point by point
response.'' Bellesiles, responding by e-mail to a request for comment
by the Globe, confirmed he will write a response in the quarterly
newsletter of the Organization of American Historians. He wrote,
''I am trying to treat errors in an honest, scholarly, and non-confrontational
form.'' David Mehegan can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story ran on page C5 of the Boston Globe on 10/3/2001. © Copyright
2001 Globe Newspaper Company
''Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture'' debunked
by Boston Globe
New doubts about gun historian, Research to receive hard critique today
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff, 9/11/2001 The Article in part:
When Emory University historian Michael A. Bellesiles published his
sweeping historical study of guns in Colonial America last fall, the reaction
His thesis that guns were relatively rare in Colonial households, and
that the American ''gun culture'' didn't take hold until long after
the Founding Fathers drafted the Second Amendment's ''right to bear
arms,'' was immediately hailed by gun control advocates and by a
host of historians impressed by his bold rewriting of conventional
Today, at Harvard Law School, Bellesiles's most adamant critic,
Northwestern University law professor James Lindgren, plans to detail
evidence that Bellesiles may have stretched or distorted the historical
record in trying to prove his claim.
The Boston Globe has reviewed substantial portions of records Lindgren
will cite: 18th-century probate records in Vermont and Rhode Island.
The Globe has also checked into Bellesiles's claim to have studied
certain records in San Francisco, records county officials say were
destroyed by fire in 1906. In each case, the records appear to support
Lindgren's accusation and suggest a disturbing pattern of misuse
of data by Bellesiles in his book and in an article defending his
thesis which he published on his Web site. Separately, in his review
of Rhode Island records, Bellesiles writes in his book that of 186
estates of ''property-owning adult males'' in Colonial Providence,
only 90 listed guns, and ''more than half of these guns are evaluated
as old and of poor quality.''
Lindgren found that 17 of the estates were not of men but women. He
also found that among 153 males whose estates included inventories,
94 mentions guns. But only nine of those are listed as old or in
A Globe review of some of the Providence records, on file at Boston
Athenaeum, appears to confirm Lindgren's findings. There were many estates
of women among those Bellesiles cites, and few indicated guns in poor
''There are many questions raised about his use of probate records
and other materials,'' says Brandeis historian David Hackett Fischer,
an authority on early America. ''They are very serious criticisms.
It cuts to the very foundation of what he reports, and convincing
answers are not coming from him.''
THE FINAL REPLY FROM THE GOSHEN LIBRARY, (also sent to other libraries
in the Ramapo Catskill Library System):
Last spring, a patron challenged the inclusion of the book Arming America:
the origins of a national gun culture, by Michael Bellesiles in our collection.
I am sharing a summary of the issues, as several of your libraries own
the book as well.
Although the book had won the Bancroft Prize for history and was well
reviewed for its original hypothesis, the nature of the research was challenged
by James Lindgren of Northwestern University Law School. The story was
reported in the Boston Globe In September 2001, and Lindgren published
an article in the Yale Law Review in April 2002. Emory University, Bellesile's
(Emeritus Professor of History) employer convened an Investigatory Committee
charged with determining if he had fabricated and/or falsified the research.
The Committee reported in July 2002 , finding that he had done so and that
he had "deviated from accepted practices of reporting the results of research".
On October 25, Emory University accepted Professor Bellesile's resignation.
This seems to me to transcend the allegations of plagiarism against
Goodwin and Ambrose. I am honoring the patron's request and withdrawing
the book from Goshen's collection.
. T --
Pauline J. Kehoe, Director
Goshen Public Library and Historical Society
203 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924
"The test of our progress is ... whether we provide enough for those
who have too little." FDR
I will add additional links as I find them.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS ADDED IN 2003
From The Emory Wheel, Organizations will consider taking away Bellesiles'
awards, By Sarah Mendola, Staff Writer, November 19, 2002. Columbia
University (N.Y.), which awarded the book the prestigious Bancroft Prize
in history, and the Organization of American Historians, which gave Bellesiles
an award for a 1996 essay that formed the basis of Arming America, said
they are considering revoking their prizes.
Book removed from local library shelves.
A Washingtonville man has persuaded the Goshen
Library to pull a book off its shelves, which inaccurately portrays a part
of American history.
George Rogero, who heads Orange County Shooters,
an organization that provides information about the licensing and use of
firearms, brought information about "Arming of America" by Michael Bellesiles
to the library.
Bellesiles, and his book, have been widely
discredited, even among liberal gun control advocates who once touted the
Rogero said the book was discredited for its
fabricated information about the arming of America while in its infancy
Rogero said he is sorry that he had to ask
a library to remove a book. “I don’t take any pleasure in requesting any
book to be removed from a library; however, when a book is based on improper
research and other students are going to the library and are going to be
doing research, if the book is there, they are going to be using it as
valid information,” he said.
The library sent a note to other libraries in the Hudson Valley pointing
to its decision.
AUDIO REPORT NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO. (NPR) http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020304.me.03.ram
Mar. 4, 2002 Emory University historian Michael Bellesiles is being
challenged by fellow scholars over his celebrated book, Arming America:
The Origins of a National Gun Culture. They say the book is inaccurate
and possibly fraudulent. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports. (7:02)
AUDIO REPORT NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO. (NPR) http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/fa/20000926.fa.02.ram
Sep. 26, 2000, Professor Michael A. Bellesiles on the history of gun culture
in America. His new book, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun
Culture looks at our country's obsession with guns. Historically, he says
it began around the civil war. Before that, there was virtually no access
to firearms. His research refutes the conventional lore that Colonial families
were armed, and that the gun was the symbol of the frontier. Bellesiles
is a Colonial historian at Emory University, and the Director of
Emory's Center for the Study of Violence.
AMAZON.COM has this book listed at a 30% discount. If you look, they
have the first 29 pages of the book that you can read on the internet.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES VOTES TO RESCIND THE 2001 BANCROFT PRIZE
PRIZE HAD BEEN AWARDED TO MICHAEL BELLESILES
FOR HIS BOOK ARMING AMERICA: THE ORIGINS OF A NATIONAL GUN CULTURE
Contact:Eileen Murphy, Columbia University, email@example.com, (212)854-5573
Columbia University's Trustees have voted to rescind
the Bancroft Prize awarded last year to Michael Bellesiles for his book
Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture. The Trustees
made the decision based on a review of an investigation of charges of scholarly
misconduct against Professor Bellesiles by Emory University and other assessments
by professional historians. They concluded that he had violated basic
norms of scholarship and the high standards expected of Bancroft Prize
winners. The Trustees voted to rescind the Prize during their regularly
scheduled meeting on December 7, 2002 and have notified Professor Bellesiles
of their decision.
The Bancroft Prize, which was first offered in 1948,
is to be awarded for works in American history of "distinguished merit
and distinction." The selection criteria for the Prize specify that it
"should honor only books of enduring worth and impeccable scholarship that
make a major contribution to our understanding of the American past."
Professor Bellesiles' book seemed to fulfill these criteria at the time
of selection. However, it has since been the subject of substantial
debate within the community of American historians that included charges
that Professor Bellesiles had committed scholarly misconduct in the use
of some of his primary source materials.
In response to these charges, Emory University,
where Professor Bellesiles holds an appointment, established a panel of
three distinguished scholars from other universities to conduct a review.
On October 25, 2002, following this review, the panel issued a report.
In it, the panel members found "evidence of falsification" with respect
to one of the questions they were asked to consider; spoke of "serious
failures of and carelessness in the gathering and
presentation of archival records and the use of quantitative analysis"
on two others; and questioned "his veracity" with respect to a fourth.
They also concluded that he had "contravened" the norms of historical scholarship
both "as expressed in the Committee charge and in the American Historical
Association's definition of scholarly 'integrity.'"
Columbia's Trustees considered the report of the
Emory investigating committee and Professor Bellesiles' response to it.
They also considered assessments by professional historians of the subject
matter of that report.
After considering all of these materials, the Trustees
concurred with the three distinguished scholars who reviewed the case for
Emory University that Professor Bellesiles had violated basic norms of
acceptable scholarly conduct. They consequently concluded that his
book had not and does not meet the standards they had established for the
In making their decision, the Trustees emphasized
that the judgment to rescind the Bancroft Prize was based solely on the
evaluation of the questionable scholarship of the work and had nothing
to do with the book's content or the author's point of view.
Columbia Rescinds History Prize for Book
By Hillel Italie, Associated Press Writer, Friday, December 13, 2002;
NEW YORK –– Severe doubts about a book on guns in
the United States has led Columbia University to rescind the prestigious
Bancroft Prize for history.
"Arming America," by Michael Bellesiles, had received
the award in 2001.
In a statement released Friday, Columbia said that
the school's trustees had concluded "his book had not and does not meet
the standards ... established for the Bancroft Prize." Columbia has asked
Bellesiles to return the prize money, $4,000.
It was the first time in the 54-year history of
the Bancroft award that Columbia has taken such actions. Phone and e-mail
messages left by The Associated Press with Bellesiles were not immediately
Bellesiles resigned in October as a professor at
Emory University, after an independent panel of scholars strongly criticized
his research. In May, the National Endowment for the Humanities withdrew
its name – although not its funding – from a fellowship given to Bellesiles.
Bellesiles has acknowledged some errors, but defends
his book as fundamentally sound. "I have never fabricated evidence of any
kind nor knowingly evaded my responsibilities as a scholar," he said after
announcing his resignation.
The historian spent 10 years working on "Arming
America," published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2000. The book challenges the
idea that the United States has always been a gun-oriented culture and
that well-armed militias were essential to the Revolutionary War.
Relying on numerous sources, Bellesiles writes that
only a small percentage of people possessed firearms in colonial times
and that militias were mostly ineffective. Only after the Civil War, he
contends, did guns become vital.
"Arming America" was praised in both The New York
Times and The New York Review of Books and won the Bancroft Prize, presented
to works of "exceptional merit and distinction in the fields of American
history and biography."
Many cited it as a devastating statement against
America's alleged historical love affair with firearms.
Gun advocates quickly attacked the book, with National
Rifle Association president, actor Charlton Heston, complaining that Bellesiles
had "too much time on his hands."
But scholars and critics also became skeptical.
In October, Emory released a 40-page study that concluded Bellesiles was
"guilty of unprofessional and misleading work."
The report, written by scholars from Harvard and
Princeton universities and the University of Chicago, said Bellesiles'
failure to cite sources for crucial data "does move into the realm of 'falsification.'"
It also suggested he omitted other researchers' data that contradicted
"The Bancroft judges operate on a basis of trust,"
said Eric Foner, a past winner and a history professor at Columbia who
has served as a prize judge, although not in 2001. "We assume a book published
by a reputable press has gone through a process where people have checked
the facts. Members of prize committees cannot be responsible for that."
Knopf said in a statement Friday it regretted "the
circumstances that prompted Columbia University to rescind the Bancroft,"
but respected the committee's decision. The paperback edition from Vintage
Books, which already includes corrections, will remain in print.
Columbia said Friday that trustees concurred with
the scholars commissioned by Emory and found that Bellesiles had "violated
basic norms of acceptable scholarly conduct." NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam
praised Columbia's decision as "appropriate."
Previous winners of the Bancroft Prize include such
influential works as C. Vann Woodward's "Origins of the New South," Foner's
"Reconstruction" and Bernard Bailyn's "The Ideological Origins of the American
© 2002 The Associated Press
Bellesiles's Case Shows Need For Institutional Reform
In Bancroft Committee And Columbia History Department
December 18, 2002, COLUMBIA COLLEGE CONSERVATIVE CLUB
firstname.lastname@example.org, www.columbia.edu/cu/conservative, Contact:
Ron Lewenberg, Phone: (646) 824-9215
Ever since Columbia University announced its
choice of Michael Bellesiles as a 2001 Bancroft Award winner for "Arming
America: The History of a National Gun Culture," they have been under increasing
pressure to re-evaluate their position due to the historical inaccuracies
and irregular research methodology in the book. Between the announcement
and presentation of the Bancroft Award, the committee had willfully ignored
all evidence of flaws in the work and thereafter had defended the author.
Only after Emory University suspended Professor Bellesiles, did Columbia
University seriously look into the matter. Despite the 18 months of consistent
criticism, Columbia has apparently learned nothing. Its modus operandi
has been to belittle criticism of the work and then to engage in damage
The Trustees of Columbia may have rescinded
the prize, but they did it quietly, too quietly. To ensure minimal press
coverage and student response, they released the statement on a Friday
immediately preceding the undergraduate exam season. Most notably, the
notice is not available on the Columbia web site. Likewise, the Trustees
failed to inform the Columbia community or involved student groups. They
barely acknowledge their mistake in their press release and went out of
their way to protect their ideological bona fides.
"In making their decision, the Trustees emphasized
that the judgment to rescind the Bancroft Prize was based solely on the
evaluation of the questionable scholarship of the work and had nothing
to do with the book's content or the author's point of view," they wrote.
The truth is that had the Trustees enforced
this standard in the committee choosing Bancroft Award nominees and winners,
Bellesiles would never have gotten the award. However, the ideological
make-up of the committee precluded honest appraisals of candidates' submissions.
To the best of our knowledge, this problem continues unabated. There is
no incentive for a member to question an author/historian, with whom he
or she agrees (especially one who has gotten good reviews from the establishment
(liberal) media). It is no coincidence that each of the 2001 award winners
wrote leftist revisionist books, as is evidenced by their profiles published
The decisions of the Trustees, the History Department, and the Bancroft
Award committee have clearly damaged the reputation of the University,
its many prizes, and that of the late Secretary of State and donor to Columbia,
The only way to prevent the recurrence of
this fiasco is to promote ideological diversity on the selection committees.
Ideological conflict between a reviewer and writer is the best way to ensure
that the author's work will be properly vetted. Evenhandedness and professionalism
are not valued in the politically correct atmosphere of academia. This
applies as much to departments as to committees at Columbia and other universities.
For the sake of these institutions and students
at Columbia, there must be true academic integrity, if not outright ideological
balance in the Bancroft Award Committee and the History Department. The
nomination process for the Bancroft Award and other prizes needs to be
publicized so that interested third parties can expose flawed nominees.
If the Bancroft Award and other honors presented by Columbia are to have
any significance, they must be based on merit and fact, not ideological
Finally, the Bellesiles Committee, and the
History Department must explain how they could grant Bellesiles the Bancroft
award despite the widespread criticism of Bellesiles "questionable scholarship"
practices. In the days between the announcement of the award winners and
the ceremony, the Columbia College Conservative Club informed members of
the Bancroft Award committee, and then the larger History Department of
the factual and methodological failings of "Arming America," only to be
systematically ignored. Likewise, hundreds of concerned Americans and Columbia
Alumni contacted the university after Kimberly Strassel broke the story
in the Wall Street Journal two weeks before the award ceremony. There has
been an institutional failure at every level including (but not limited
to) the offices of Alumni Relations and Public Affairs, professors in the
History Department, and finally, those with the ultimate responsibility:
the University President and the Trustees.
The failure of the Columbia Trustees to properly
oversee the History Department and the Bancroft Award committee suggests
that the ideological corruption of the university has reached its highest
levels and the institution must be structurally reformed. George Rupp,
the former president of the university, was clearly negligent on this matter.
It is our sincere hope that President Bollinger can put aside his well-publicized
ideological biases and promote balance and openness in his oversight role.
Columbia has been taken over by a system that
favors proper political views and politicking over academic and historical
standards. There needs to be significant structural and personnel reforms
in the university staff, History Department, and Trustees.
Our ultimate cry is for academic integrity,
and we demand that it be heeded.
Founder, President 1999-2001
1/1/03 What Is Knopf Waiting
For? By Jerome Sternstein, Professor Emeritus of History, Brooklyn
College, CUNY, and co-editor of The Encyclopedia of American Biography.
This article asks why the book is still being published and attacks the
Alfred A. Knopf company, the publisher of the original book and a new paper
back edition that was "corrected" but contains as many errors and some
of the corrections were corrected with errors and ask why the publisher
did not question some of the know errors and problems with the book.
"And if the editors at Knopf think that all of the concerns about Arming
America's questionable scholarship which can be raised have been raised,
they are in for a nasty surprise. More articles and studies about its stunning
evidentiary flaws and problems are in the pipeline with others in the early
stages of development. Justin L. Heather, for example, who co-authored
with James Lindgren, "Counting Guns in Early America" in the William and
Mary Law Review, the study which first exposed Bellesiles's misrepresentation
of probate records, will soon publish in the Journal of Law and Politics
a devastating analysis of how Bellesiles misrepresented the use of bladed
weapons, knives, and axes in his sources. Clayton Cramer has a book-length
manuscript, "Armed America: Firearms Ownership and Hunting in the United
States," detailing Bellesiles's many fabrications about that subject ready
for publication and he is still compiling lists of gunsmiths which give
the lie to much of what Bellesiles says about their scarcity in Early America."
National Review Online, Disarming
America One of the worst cases of academic irresponsibility in memory.
By Melissa Seckora, NR editorial associate, October 15, 2001 issue, Originally
posted September 11, 2001
"Those who have examined Arming America have documented hundreds of
possibly intentional misconstructions of sources or outright falsehoods.
The probate records aside, Bellesiles has egregious problems in the areas
of homicide data, gun censuses, reports on militia arms, hunting accounts,
travel accounts, the opinions of the anti-Federalists, and laws governing
guns. So far it appears that Bellesiles has not been able to validate any
of the challenged portions of his book."
Fiction: Michael Bellesiles and His Yellow Note Pads, By Jerome Sternstein,
is a great article and worth the time to read.")
"I tried the same experiment, running the tub faucet, as opposed to
the shower head, at full force over another pad for a half an hour, and
then six of them stacked on top of each other, for another half hour. None
of the pads were badly damaged. All remained completely usable after drying
and the pencil marks were easily legible."
the colonists gun-haters? Geoff Metcalf interviews Second Amendment
historian Joyce Malcolm. Editor's
note: Dr. Joyce Malcolm, a professor and historian, wasn't convinced of
the assertions made by Professor Michael Bellesiles in his book, "Arming
America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture." Bellesiles claims
that the American colonists did not, by and large, own or value firearms.
In her critique of Bellesiles' work in Reason Magazine, Malcolm takes on
his research methods, conclusions and use of selective information. As the
author of "To Keep and Bear Arms: The origin of an Anglo-American Right," Malcolm
has an extensive background in early American history and the development
of the Second Amendment. WorldNetDaily writer and talk show host Geoff Metcalf
recently interviewed Malcolm about her criticism of Bellesiles' book and
his controversial conclusions.
- Soft Skull Press to publish Bellesiles discredit
book. "Arming of America" CLICK
HERE FOR THE SOFT SKULL PRESS RELEASE IN PDF Soft
Skull Press who bills itself as a publisher of "fearless,
progressive, independently minded literature, ..." has
decided to publish another edition of "Arming
in Brooklyn, NY, publisher of other famous books like BOMB THE SUBURBS by
William Upski Wimsatt author of No More Prisons, The Pres. George
W. Bush bashing book, FORTUNATE SON: George W. Bush and the Making
of an American President, What the F**k and You Don't
Have to F**k People Over to Survive. They do defend the book but
are forced to call upon a contribution editor for The Nation in order
to find someone who will do it and as Publisher Richard Nash states, “It
is imperative that we stand up to the NRA smear machine."
No one address the statement by the Contra Costa
County Historical Society, "Last, we cannot confirm that Professor Bellesiles
did substantial research in our collection in 1993 (as he claims) or at any other
time before his visit in January, 2002. We do not remember him visiting our collection
before his recent visit. We have searched our log books and invoices for the
years 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996 and find no record for research fees or photocopies.
Further, we are not cited or acknowledged in his book, something we always expect