History is more than the past and the present, it is a field of study where many questions are asked and many answers can be found. As a field, it is the interpretations of facts by historians, but how are historians able to objectively interpret the information?
As Angus MacFayden said in Braveheart, as the character of Robert the Bruce, “Historians from England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes (MacFayden).” History is naught but stories, changed and molded to fit the current society, which are passed down through generations. The study of history is not the answer, but the means of finding the answer for our times.
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The most important object to historians and their field of study are facts. Facts are the skeletal structure to history, and without them, there would be nothing to build history on. As Edward Carr said in What is History, “historical facts are the same for all historians and which form…the backbone of history (Carr 8).” A fact is independent of the historian, but is the historian interested more in single facts or the connection between facts, which then makes it evidence?
A single incidence is a fact, but to become evidence it must go through the theory and interpretation of a historian because historians are interested in the connection of facts. Richard Evans summarized it best by saying, “Facts thus precede interpretation conceptually, while interpretation precedes evidence (Evans).”
It is the duty of the individual historians to provide an accurate interpretation, just as Houseman says, ” ‘Accuracy is a duty, not a virtue (Carr).'” But therein lies a contradiction – there is no such thing as accurate interpretation when one is talking of history. Historians must formulate an answer to all of their facts, but these answers are often clouded by the historians’ society and upbringing.
The definition of history is a question that has sparked international debate for centuries between the writers, readers, and the makers of history. It is a vital topic that should be relevant in our lives because it’s important to acknowledge past events that have occurred in our world that deeply influences the present. This essay will discuss what history is, and why we study it.
History is the study of past events leading up to the present day. It is a research, a narrative, or an account of past events and developments that are commonly related to a person, an institution, or a place. It is a branch of knowledge that records and analyzes…
Focusing on the people involved in a time, place, and series of events makes history. Biographies and historical fiction may popularize these entities/figures with descriptions of people who lived in the past or events that happened in the past. Such Historical figures and events include King Leopold II of Belgium and The Scramble of Africa in the late 19th century.
Among other things, King Leopold II of Belgium (1835-1909), is known for the exploitation of Congo and the mass murder of its citizens as told in King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild. King Leopold II of Belgium, created and ironically erased history by ultimately slashing the area’s population by ten million during his reign in the Congo, and still managed to shrewdly foster a reputation as a great humanitarian. In telling this story, Hochschild gave detailed descriptions, especially of the individuals involved, both good and bad.
Set in the palaces and boardrooms of Europe and in the villages of central Africa, it tells the story of the tragedy that took place during Leopold’s so-called rule. This “horror” the story gives and reveals the uttermost secrets of the respected King Leopold.
Prior to his colonization, In the mid-1870s, the King hired then world-renowned explorer Henry Morton Stanley, who was familiar with many parts of Africa, to help him go about conquering. During the following years, Stanley stayed throughout in central Africa, talking various tribes into signing over their…
There are many important steps that lead to the conclusion that all of history is an interpretation. Because history is an account of what happened in the past, we cannot know anything else but what was recorded. So, in reality, the only real factual history is what the witness of an event writes or says. This is known as first hand. However, because only an infinitesimal amount of history was actually recorded, this leaves historians to guess and write their interpretation. This proves that all of the history textbooks we read are only interpretations of the real events.
Another step that led to the conclusion that all of history is an interpretation is the fact that when historians write textbooks, only a limited amount of facts can be written. At least a fraction, if not, much of the actual information is excluded. A historian’s view of what is important and not important is also considered an interpretation. If any factual information is left out, it cannot be the account of the actual event. On the contrary, if a historian writes all the facts into one book, it would not sell.
The last piece of evidence of all of history being interpretations are given by the book is different viewpoints. There are many books based on history and some of them may be biased. For example, a Republican author of a book based on politics may try not to take the Republican side of politics, but it is what he believes in and he may very well subconsciously lean toward the Republican side. A biased book is an interpretation from one viewpoint. The reliability is considerably low in such a book.
The reason why we should not just look up the definition of something is that even what the dictionary says could be an interpretation. Dictionaries are also written by humans, and therefore they are also susceptible to being interpretations. A dictionary is also just one source. Instead of just looking some up from one view, many viewpoints should be compiled and taught about.
Besides looking for the possible bias of an author, other useful techniques historians may use when they read or write history are using many sources. When writing history, using different perspectives can abet writing a paper or a book that is not biased. When reading history, using more than one source can help get a better idea of what actually happened, safeguarding a historian from having a biased idea.
Another benefit from using more than one source would be having a much more robust opinion, having read many views. As much as reading more than one source can take up more time, it will be mitigated to bias.
If history is only interpretation, the ultimate goal of work in a history course should be finding the truth. History is like an enigmatic puzzle except that it has missing pieces. Interpretations are mere what other people speculate the missing pieces to look like. The goal of a historian is to find the truth or the rest of the missing pieces. Of course, this daunting task cannot be achieved overnight or by one person, but by a union of historians.
History is the study of how the world we live in now has been shaped by the events of the past. It is a record of human experiences relative to the society in which we live. Our lives as members of western civilization have been formed by outstanding institutions, ideas, and creative works. Without the knowledge of our past, we would have little direction in our society, we can not learn from past mistakes and successes, to put it bluntly, we learn the past to predict the future.
The majority of the knowledge we gain by studying history is of the political, economic, and social record of our past. We learn the reasons why certain governments succeeded and others failed by studying our political record. Issues such as trade and commerce have existed since the origin of civilization and by studying our economic record we may learn the solutions to any problems we may come across today. These aspects are too closely related to ever be mentioned in isolation.
Although closely associated with the previous two, one aspect of history which affects every human being on the planet is our social record. Every culture’s traditions have made some contribution to the society we live in, the art and music of the past have such obvious descendants in everyday life, especially in the United States, that one can’t help but think that people in the past weren’t that different than people today.
One of the most important reasons for studying our history is simple self-preservation. Without certain skills passed down from generation-to-generation, human survival would be extremely difficult. Skills such as linguistic communication and cartography, are key to our survival.
Maps are a clear record of history, a simple map can show how people have migrated from various regions across the globe or how certain religions and governments prospered in particular regions. Although effective, a map is just one example of the physical manifestation of history in our world.
As for the subject of world history, I feel it is important that we learn as much as we can about other cultures and their history, doing so, we as citizens of the United States, can better understand where some of the influences in our clothes, music, and food, originated. We live in a nation that is made possible by the past successes of many social groups.
Our form of government, religious beliefs, and scientific knowledge, all have their origin in European history. As well, many of the problems we face now have at one point occurred in some society at one time or another, by studying the past we can also learn when problems without recent precedent occur.
history is the collection of all the written and saved events which have happened during the centuries of human existence, it never repeats, but we can get experiences from the past to manage our future. History is the treasure of the human being’s childhood, younghood, and matureness, not every single individual… but the human being as a united body.
Whatever has happened hundreds of years ago never happen again, the time has changed, no Jesus, no Aristotle, no Napoleon Bonaparte, no Hitler, will come again. all we have to do is to learn from the experiences of those who lived before us to make a better future.
History is the interpretation of past events, societies, and civilizations. The term history comes from the Greek historian (ἱστορία), “an account of one’s inquiries,” and shares that etymology with the English word story. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica stated that “history in the wider sense is all that has happened, not merely all the phenomena of human life, but those of the natural world as well.
It is everything that undergoes change; and as modern science has shown that there is nothing absolutely static, therefore, the whole universe, and every part of it, has its history.”
History is what enables a society to be. To eradicate the history of a civilization is to eradicate that civilization. It can be used as a tool to warn the present, or manipulated and spun for use as a weapon.
For example both, America lost in Vietnam, yet there is almost the same “stab in the back” attitude as in Germany at the end of WWI (the army did not fail they were betrayed by…) that led to WWII.
Also, despite losing, the vast majority of material about Vietnam is American and is generally gentle to the sensitivities of American veterans and relatively disingenuous to the government/press/liberals of the period. It tends to portray the North Vietnamese army as a cunning ruthless jungle-dwelling enemy. (the truth is most V.C. and N.V.A.) were nearly as unused to living in tropical jungle as the Americans.
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