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History and public opinion: the historical profession and the French-Dutch rejection of the EU Constitutional Treaty. De Arena. Debat over Europa

Author:

M. Wintle

Abstract

‘History and public opinion: the historical profession and the French-Dutch rejection of the EU Constitutional Treaty’
In May-June 2005, the French and then the Dutch rejected the EU Constitutional Treaty. Were those events significant for the Dutch historical profession? Not very much: student demand for courses on Europe is booming and trade books on European history continue to sell well. However, the referenda do remind us of some opportunities for historians. This article argues that they should, more than ever, continue to lay bare the ‘historical’ nonsense that many politicians spout. In due course, historians will provide clear evidence about the reasons for the negative votes. They can also assist clarity of thinking by pointing out the anomaly of comparing the modern EU with nation states formed in the nineteenth century, and by insisting that there are many Europes, not just one. Historians should be sparing with declarations of what European identity is: Europe is, and always has been, in the eye of the beholder.

 

This article is part of the forum 'Debat over Europa'.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.6535
How to Cite: Wintle, M., 2007. History and public opinion: the historical profession and the French-Dutch rejection of the EU Constitutional Treaty. De Arena. Debat over Europa. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 122(1), pp.105–112. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.6535
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Published on 01 Jan 2007.

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