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Revoke Michael Bellesiles' Bancroft Award

Revoke Michael Bellesiles' Bancroft Award
An Open Letter to Columbia University

By David Codrea

November 4, 2002

Lee C. Bollinger, President

George Rupp, Past President

Alan Brinkley, Allan Nevins Professor of History/Department Chair

Elaine Sloan, Vice President for Information Services/University Librarian

From your website

“Contrary to the romantic idea that the frontiersman relied upon his weapon, Bellesiles establishes the fact that, up until 1850, fewer than 10 percent of Americans owned guns, and half of those weapons were not functioning.”

“Establishes the fact”?

The only thing Bellesiles establishes is that he is an academic huckster, and that Columbia’s Bancroft Prize Committee should have disassociated itself from him a long time ago. 

So -- when are you going to revoke the prize? When are you going to make amends and award it (with profound apologies) to one of the scholars who actually earned the right to claim it, but who was cheated out of the chance to advance his or her academic career? And when are the people who awarded it without scrupulously checking facts going to receive their just reprimands?

Because until you do these things, your prize will be tarnished and you’ll continue being rightfully deemed willing enablers of a scam. And history, as you know better than most, will judge you accordingly.

David Codrea

“Professor” Michael Bellesiles, author of the fraudulent screed “Arming America” that the citizen disarmament crowd placed such high hopes in, has resigned in disgrace from Emory University. While it is regrettable they didn’t have the integrity or courage to dismiss him, there is still one piece of unfinished business: he still retains the “honor” of Columbia University’s Bancroft prize. It’s time to change that.

American universities have become propaganda mills for the left. While “academic freedom” is the watchword for all things subversive, the same “tolerance” for “diversity” never seems to include a conservative or libertarian point of view, particularly when it comes to our unalienable right to keep and bear arms.

We have a unique opportunity, where the subsidized ivory tower eggheads have been caught in a situation so wrong, so hypocritical, that even they will not be able to sustain the status quo — that is, unless we let them.

Please click here to send an email to the administration of Columbia University responsible for awarding the Bancroft prize. Demand that they revoke the award they gave Michael Bellesiles.

Then also take KABA’s poll, on the left side of this web page (click here to jump to it) — the results will be shared with Columbia University officials.  [Note: Once the poll is no longer active, it will be found in the poll archives.]

Let’s send a message to academia’s leftist leadership. Let’s score a victory for freedom, and let them know in no uncertain terms that we will no longer tolerate their liberty-destroying historical revisionism.

Please add your voice to this demand. Please send your email today, and share this with like-minded friends.

Acknowledgment must be made of the Second Amendment Foundation's and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership's public demands that Columbia revoke Bellesiles' Bancroft Prize. Special acknowledgement must also be made to the scholars who were the principal leaders in exposing the scandal that is "Arming America". As John G. Fought observes in his History News Network analysis, "Clayton Cramer, James Lindgren, David Mehegan, Melissa Seckora, Jerome Sternstein, Kimberley Strassel, Joyce Lee Malcolm and the volunteer archivists of the Contra Costa County Historical Society, among many others, deserve to share a better prize than the Bancroft for their hard and effective work in setting this matter right."

David Codrea is a co-founder and director for the national pro-rights media campaign, Citizens of America (, and an advisor and contributor for His professional writing is featured often in Guns and Ammo magazine. Additionally, he is the national coordinator for A Petition for the Enforcement of the Second Amendment ( His archives can be accessed here:


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Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins. — Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti.

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