The Study Of History Essay Research Paper

The Study Of History Essay, Research Paper

The Study of History

The study of history is the study of perspectives. Historians have

different perspectives and as Nevins states it is important to study all

perspectives of history to get a full account of an event. There are three

major aspects of history, the first is the definition. What is history? Many

historians have different ideas about that question. Another part of the

study of history is the uses of history. Do we implement what we have

learned from past mistakes to make the present and future better for

generations to come? A final aspect of the study of history is the

historical method, how historians document history.

There is no clear-cut definition of history due to the fact that each

historian has a different frame-of-reference. Davis and Woodman discuss

how there are three major definitions of history that are most commonly

disputed. They are, history is the entire human past; history is all of

recorded human past; and history is what historians write about history.

Some historians believe geography should be included in the study of

history because the geography of a region affects the people who live on it

and the course of history. The definition will always be open and will

forever cause contreversy among historians.

According to some historians studying history can improve a

society?s future and be very important and influential, but as with all

aspects of history, other people such as Karl Marx believe history is just

entertaining. Trevor-Roper believes there is the factor of historical

revenge. He gives the example of nationalism in nineteenth-century

China. The government in China believed that once the intial wave of

nationalism was stopped it would never come back, but they were wrong

as you can see by the events leading up to the protests at Tiennaman

Square in China in the latter part of the 20th century. Dr. Allan Nevins

agrees with Trevor-Roper when he says the past, present, and future are

interrelated. Trevor-Roper?s prediction for the future of Chinese

nationalism is that there will be waves of nationalism until the fight for

the cause prevails. Writers help the historians who believe history is just

entertaining by dressing it up for each occasion according to

Trevor-Roper. Trevor-Roper also believes it is best for a historian to study

all perspectives of one part of history so that he can make his own

interpretations. As previously mentioned, there are different uses of

history dependent on what the historians frame of referemce is.

For history to be accurately studied, it must be written. For

historians to write history, they must study all perspectives and decide

what to write by considering what they feel is important. If the event the

author is writing about is recent enough that there are still some primary

sources available, they will usually get information from that source. If

there is no primary source, the historian will then try to retrieve

information from secondary sources. Once a source is found a historian

wants to find out why something happened. For example, if a teacher

wants to know why a student is late and the student responds, ? because

I overslept?, that would be proximate cause. Then some historians would

go even further and find out why they overslept. A fundamental or

secondary cause would be because the alarm clock wasn?t set.

Sometimes the historians go even further by asking why wasn?t the alarm

clock set. After a certain point the facts become irrelevant. Many

historians feel it is only necessary to know the proximate cause. Just like

the other two aspects of history, there is more than one view of how

history should be written.

It is obvious that history is the study of perspectives, and that the

definition, its uses, and how it is written are important aspects. The

study of history gives society the information that can and will improve

the life present and future.


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