What is History? U.S. History
What is history? • History has many different definitions, depending on who you ask! • Simply put, history is the study of the past. • “History is a set of lies agreed upon.” –Napoleon • “History is mostly guessing, the rest is prejudice.”- Will and Ariel Durant • "Only a good-for-nothing is not interested in his past." -Sigmund Freud
Why do we study history? • We can see how past events have shaped the present. • We can see how we are similar and different from others over time. • History helps us enjoy and understand the world around us. • We can apply lessons and ideas from the past towards the future.
How do we reconstruct the past? • A good historian will collect information from many sources, analyze the information, and draw conclusions about the past based on the information. • Information may come from documents, interviews, or artifacts. • Historians may also make educated guesses where there is missing information.
Primary Sources • Anything written or made by somebody who was at the historical event or lived during the time period. • Primary sources can include: journals, letters, speeches, newspaper articles, photos, interviews, video footage, etc. • Primary sources are the best way to get accurate information about the past.
Secondary Sources • Made by people who were not actually at the event. • Ideas from several primary sources are combined. • This would include history textbooks and biographies.