Last night I quoted the famed historian Edmund Morgan as writing (in rough paraphrase): History never repeats itself. It only seems like it does to those who don’t know the details.
Today a number of readers have written in asking me for the citation for the quote since they seem to like it so much.
Unfortunately, I don’t know the precise citation.
When I was getting my doctorate I read literally hundreds of books and articles about early American history. So there’s a chance I’ve misremembered the author. But I’m fairly certain it’s Morgan and I’m pretty sure that the quote comes from a published collection of essays entitled The Challenge of the American Revolution.
For those who aren’t familiar with his work, Morgan is one of the most esteemed and influential early American historians of the second half of the 20th century, both for his own work (which continues) and for that of his legion of students.
For my money, though he made his name with pathbreaking work on Puritanism, his masterpiece remains American Slavery,American Freedom, a history of the first decades of settlement of Virginia, which I heartily recommend to every TPM reader.