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What is "history"?

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posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 05:01 PM
In reading the various resplies to Springer's thread and his opinion of what ends a discussion because "it is history", I was interested in discussing the definition of history.

As an example, being a middle-aged American, what I learned in school as "history" regarding such topics as European History and American History, must surely be different than what a Brit must have been taught about those very same topics or what a Russia of similar age was taught about Lenin and Tsar Nicholas.

I was wondering:

1.- can someone of similar age explain what or how they were taught about the American Revolution? It surely wasn't glorified as it was in my history books or by my teachers. What was taught and written into the history books you were required to learn from and understand?

2. - define history as best you can. As we all can see from reading threads here and elsewhere even on contemporaneously occurring events, "truth" for one is not "truth" for another and thus one "truth", or some variant, will eventually make it's way to becoming "documented history" as it was referred to in Springer's post.

Each and every day of our lives we live "history" as each tick of the clock moves forward, yet we each perceive it very differently based on our socioeconomic, religiously influenced, politically affiliated and racially profiled life. How do we as people arrive at an agreed upon "history" of events?

Not to derail my own thread, but 911 has promoted discussions very different than what is "written as history" for that event. It's probably one of the foremost, singularly unique topics discussed here on ATS. I use this only as an example of what might be considered when providing a definition of history.

Please keep on topic and reply only to those questions posed.


posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 05:10 PM
i want to help and contribute to this thread, unfortunately, History class occurred during my scheduled nap times in school.

from what I remember the history only got detailed at about the time of the French and Indian War and ended at Vietnam...I remember something about Columbus, Pilgrims and John Smith...all of the History I learned orbited around American Government and the Wars we fight.

Even though I'm from the French area of America, west of the Appalachians, the history I was taught in school, focused on things east of the Appalachians, until after the Louisiana Purchase.

in short...i was learning a considerable amount about things that didn't directly apply to my experience as an American. I was reading the history of the people that destroyed my culture.

its not that my history doesn't exist...its just wasn't apart of the curriculum.

but then again...I took naps during that class, so it may be that I missed some things.

edit on 17-7-2012 by michaelbrux because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 05:26 PM

Originally posted by Bilk22

1.- can someone of similar age explain what or how they were taught about the American Revolution?

I went to a British school. As far as I can remember, it was presented as an embarassing example of government stupidity and mismanagement. Nobody was blaming the Americans for doing it.

Incidentally, you may be interested to know that we were taught NOTHING about the war of 1812 (not even that it happened). I think it just got squeezed out by all the detail of events in Europe. The fact that a British army burned down Washington was something I learned from an issue of National Geographic.

edit on 17-7-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 05:30 PM
There are two basic objects in historical research.

1. History, as in what actually happened. History is the total sum of events at any given date/time.

2. History, as a form of the social sciences, is the endeavor to recreate 1, with only such methods that are objective and therefore open to the scrutiny of others.

What is produced under 2. will never, ever, even in the idealest of worlds come to capture everything that 1 entails. But that shouldn't keep anyone from accepting the lessons that history teach. History, as a narrative conceptualization of 1. is always instructive as long as objective methods are used and other people can chime in.

Think of History (2.) as a comb, with which you comb through History (1.). What you get depends on the traits of the comb and how you use it - you can produce a myriad of accounts in this way, all of them historical, but none of it giving an accurate picture on its own. Only by combining repeated efforts does a clear understanding emerge.

Well, whatever. Some thoughts on history.

An afterthought: I always believed that history is written by the victors. Actually, that is a common misconeception: History is actuall written by Historians.
edit on 17-7-2012 by NichirasuKenshin because: grammar

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 05:32 PM
i think history is a story told by the winners of wars,full of half truths

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 05:37 PM

Originally posted by NichirasuKenshin
An afterthought: I always believed that history is written by the victors. Actually, that is a common misconeception:

Yes, because so much conflict is localised, that history can be written by third parties who were not involved.

That's what's wrong with the revisionist theory that "the Tudors controlled the story that was told about Richard III".
Anyone with an alternative story to tell could have told it quite freely in most of the rest of Europe.

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 06:50 PM
"History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon". Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon: The Man And The Myth

posted on Jul, 18 2012 @ 02:27 PM
It's clear history is nothing more than what one or more people claim it to be, which is why it should always be questioned. "History" obviously isn't the dot at the end of the sentence. I'd further say that the forum discussions here on ATS are quite anti-history. Most everything discussed in these forums are either laying question to historical record or discussing events and ideas lacking historical background accepted by mainstream ideals. In my opinion, it's the fundamental basis for the existence of this web site - which is a good thing. Understanding that, it begs the question of intent for the thread from yesterday afternoon. But hey, I guess as in everything else in life, there are rules.

posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:40 AM
History is a joke we play on the past.

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