Publication Date

September 4, 2018

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

In May 2018’s Perspectives on History, it is reported that AHA president Mary Beth Norton, on behalf of the AHA, signed a letter opposing the citizenship question that is to be on the 2020 US Census.

This is a troubling example of political correctness trumping intellectual rigor.

Firstly, the purported undercount issue is speculative. It is irrational to base policy on speculation. Furthermore, these speculations are by social science experts, and that group has a poor record of reliable predictions.

Lastly, and most importantly, historians have a definitive need for the best population data available. This clearly would include identification of citizenship at the time of enumeration.

So, we have the remarkable case of the AHA arguing to suppress important historical information that will handicap future historians who will want to know as much as possible about the US population in 2020.

John B. Bute
Austin, TX

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