History; The road to Graduation: 38 Essays


History; The road to Graduation: 38 Essays
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This is over four hundred pages and thirty-eight essays covering the syllabus from "A" level or senior High School and bachelor's degree.

History covers more topics than any other discipline. As such, historians always specialised in specific areas. From prehistoric to date. Similarly, there is more terminology than any subject.

The study of the past or the product of our attempts to understand the past includes events that happened in time. It might sound strange to have 'history' and 'the past' meaning different things. Still, the distinction is important when you remember that all our attempts to narrate and explain earlier events are affected by our biases and difficulties of time and transmission. Historians have used 'The Past' as a base point: this significant happened, which is what most people consider history. Historians then consider 'history' as the product of our attempts to investigate the past.

Humans evolved in Africa from other primates. Genetic measurements indicate that the ape lineage which would lead to Homo sapiens diverged from the lineage that would lead to chimpanzees and bonobos, the closest living relatives of modern humans, somewhere between 13 million and 5 million years ago.

Modern historians aim to reconstruct a record of human activities and achieve a more profound understanding. This conception of their task is relatively recent, dating from the development in the late 18th and early 19th centuries of "scientific" history and the simultaneous rise of history as an academic profession. It springs from a very new outlook in human experience: the assumption that studying history is a natural, inevitable human activity. Before the late 18th century, historiography did not stand at the centre of any civilisation. History was rarely an essential part of regular education, and it never claimed to provide an interpretation of human life. This enormous ambition was more appropriate to religion, philosophy, psychology and other imaginative literature.

All human cultures tell stories about the past. Deeds of ancestors, heroes, gods, or animals sacred to particular peoples were chanted and memorised long before there was any writing to record them. Their truth was authenticated by the very fact of their continued repetition. History, which may be defined as an account that purports to be true of events and ways of thinking and feeling in some part of the human past, stems from this archetypal human narrative activity.

While sharing a common ancestry with myth, legend, epic poetry, and the novel, history has diverged from these forms. Its claim to truth is partly based on the fact that all the persons or events it describes existed or occurred at some time in the past. Historians can say nothing about these persons or events that cannot be supported or at least suggested by some documentary evidence.

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