Blogs > Liberty and Power > Of McLain and "Of Mess and Men"

Jul 25, 2017

Of McLain and "Of Mess and Men"

tags: Buchanan,MacLean,Bogue,Young

The odds are fairly strong that while Nancy MacLean was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, she read "Of Mess and Men: The Boardinghouse and Congressional Voting, 1821-1842," co-authored by my mentor, Allan G. Bogue in his well-attended seminar on political history

 Bogue had a habit of assigning this article (a critique of historian James Sterling Young's methods) for his students . It was intended as a cautionary tale illustrating the dangers of academic misconduct.

Bogue particularly called our attention to pages 225-26 (see below) which featured Young's edited quotation of the words of Rep. Josiah Quincy alongside the full original quotation. The upshot, as emphasized by Bogue, was that Young had misled his readers by twisting the actual meaning to fit his thesis. I doubt that anyone who sat through this seminar would have forgotten it.

During other weeks of the seminar, Bogue reeled off similar examples of academic misconduct. These were more than classroom exercises. As a leader of the profession (he was a past president of the Organization of American Historians), Bogue often went out of his way to expose colleagues guilty of similar offenses, even when it risked the loss of long-time friends.

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