• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is history

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What is history History accounts what happened in the past. It is the academic discipline, which seeks to construct accounts of, and to provide explanations for, what happened in the past. Historical evidence The historian is chiefly directly concerned with documentary evidence of the past. Written sources are divided by historians into primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources are historical writings: articles or books attempting to reconstruct or interpret the past. The written source material which constitutes direct evidence is referred to as primary sources. A historian needs to gather primary sources for the period he is studying, but merely collecting them is not enough. He will need to ensure that this source is authentic: that it is what it purports to be and is not a forgery. He will also need to ensure that the source is reliable. T.E. Lawrence wrote: "... documents are liars. No man ever tried to write down the entire truth of any action in which he was engaged " A document is just the material upon which the historian needs to get to work; it does not speak for itself. ...read more.

Middle

The 19th century German historian Leopold von Ranke saw it his duty as a historian to "show it how it really was". It is now clear that such objectivity is not possible for several reasons: * Selection: firstly, history is based upon the selection of the facts. We mostly know of the history of ancient Greece from Athenian viewpoint . we have no Theban, Corinthian or Spartian chronicle of the Peloponnesian war to compare with Thucydides account, * Systematisation: as we have seen, evidence is always collected, evaluated and interpreted in terms of a pre-existing theory which guides research. The danger is that interpretative pattern will be imposed upon the data, determining which evidence is significant, and worth taking into account, and which is not. * Point of view: history is always written from some particular point of view, Collingwood argued that there is no "objective viewpoint": "St Augustaine looked at history form the point of early Christian; Tillamont form that of a 17th century Frenchman: Gibbon from that of an 18th century Englishman; Momsen from that of 19th century German. ...read more.

Conclusion

Usually the motive for a war was thought to be a monarch's desire for vengeance against an enemy who had previously offended him. Thomas Carlyle stated , "the history of the world is but the biography of great men". Such approach can lead to psychologism, the attempt to understand history through psychology or even the psycho-analysis. This leads to absurd attempts, for example, to explain the holocaust by reference to Hitler's relationship with his mother. Other historians tend to prefer deep, underlying social causes. H.S.Chamberlin argued that racial characteristics were the dominant factor in history, Marx stressed the importance of economical rivalries and class conflict, Freud argued that unconscious psychological forces: the sex drive and the death wish were the supreme movers of history. It does seem that the things that great men do often have results which they did not intend. It is clear that Mr. Gorbachev set out to reform the Soviet system, not destroy it. Most historians consider that great forces really dominate history and the apparent power of remarkable statesmen is an illusion. This seems to be a the conclusion reached by Tolstoy. The great historian Ranke suggested a compromise position: "General tendencies do not decide alone; great personalities are always necessary to make them effective" 1 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Why was Bletchley Park able to break the German Enigma codes

    This gave the opportunity for the British cryptographers to start breaking the code and producing the perforated sheets. The capture of German vessels and military personnel who held clues to the solving of enigma including the capture of two extra wheels in February 1940 supplied to German Naval Enigma operators,

  2. The Holocaust

    The "Final Solution" was implemented in stages. After 1942, for definite, Hitler and the Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews. This is were the plan for the 'Final Solution' came in. "Hitler, in an attempt to establish the pure Aryan race, decided that all mentally ill, gypsies, non supporters of

  1. Different Aims and Purposes of the Historians Herodotus and Thucydides.

    Unlike Thucydides, Herodotus focused primarily on the non-Greek world. After leaving his home town of Halicarnassus, he embarked upon a journey of the Mediterranean world, including Asia Minor, the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean islands of Rhodes, Cyprus, Delos, Paros, Thasos, Samothrace, Crete, Samos, Cythera and Aegina. He travelled south to the Persian capital of Susa, Babylon and Colchis, and north to Scythia and Thrace.

  2. 'How did Hegel envisage the course of history and upon what did he base ...

    was thus a turning point in history for the progression of freedom. Hegel describes the reformation as 'the all-enlightening Sun' of the bright day that is our modern time.'34 The Germanic nations, under the influence of Christianity were the first to understand man should be and can be free.

  1. Alexander Von Humboldt in Colombia

    Tesis a Favor Los descubrimientos de Humboldt fueron factores claves para que los neogranadinos valoraran la riqueza geogr�fica con la que gozaban y los fines estrat�gicos con la cual podr�a ser usada. Argumentos a favor 1. En su ensayo pol�tico Humboldt exalta la mala administraci�n de la monarqu�a Espa�ola en la Nueva Granada (Los criollos).

  2. Question 3 History

    The Government had had enough at this point and started to put them in jail. In my opinion this was the wrong thing to do as it only gave the women new ways of agitating males. In prison they held hunger strikes until force feeding was issued to any prisoned protestors.

  1. Years of Illusion

    This oil discovery led to major political restructuring beginning in the late twentieth-century, as the world developed a general dependence on Middle Eastern oil supply, a dependency that still exists today. 2. What changes did Kemal Atat�rk make in Turkey?

  2. The Panchayat system as an early form of conflict resolution in Trinidad.

    the majority of landowning Trinidadian families.24 Since men greatly outnumbered women throughout the Indentureship period, the joint family system could not be maintained and began to fade. Indian culture was one in which age meant experience and experience meant wisdom. The community regarded elders as pillars of strength and knowledge.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work