The following quotes come from Ken Myers’ recent Mars Hill Audio Journal interview of Christopher Shannon, author of The Past as Pligrimage. I believe they are quotations from Shannon’s book, but Myers was a little ambiguous and I was unable to confirm this (Google Books and Amazon had no previews, and I’ve got a limited book budget!):
Historians tell stories about the past, and American historians tend to tell a monolithic American story. The conventional story they tell is one of the inevitability of human progress and liberation through the triumph of reason, the elimination of constraint, and the expansion of the realm of free choice.
This is very similar to what Christian Smith has said about sociology.
Shannon (I believe) also makes this further wise point:
All narrative structures take shape in light of some understanding of the good, and, as stories about the past are told and received, they reinforce certain understandings of the good.