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"Professional historians spend their lives pursuing the meaning of the past for the present." Everything that exists in today’s world has some origin coming from the past. Everything that exists today and seems to be unique of its time has some basis from the past. It is a known fact that history has a tendency of repeating itself, and so to prepare us for the future we need to understand the past. History can give a person an answer to almost everything that is going on in the present, with what we call a historical investigation. History not only states facts but explains disciplines such as sociology, religion, psychology, anthropology and so on. It explains to us why certain events happened, such as the reason why six millions Jews died in the Second World War. The reason history gives us is anti-Semitism. The Nazis were a group that had as a goal to purify the world of what we call minorities and so to keep it a White, straight, Christian world. History explains the evolution of things, people, beliefs, laws and many more in order for us to understand why certain things are the way they are.
In this article, we come across a few major points. Each of them is introduced in a very original way. The author uses a literal journey into the past as a means of comparing it to the present. One of the many points is an in depth definition of history related profession. What are they trying to accomplish and how they work to get what they are looking for. "Professional historians spend their lives pursuing the meaning of the past for the present." Historians study facts and records that previous generations have left, to find out what kind of lives they led and how they solved their problems.
The way a historian works is very determined and simple to understand. A historian needs to first choose an important question he wants to answer. Then he needs to find research on the subject that already exists and which he can get access to. Next he has to judge the source that he has obtained, is it credible? Is it genuine? The article explains that there are two basic forms of historical evidence that exist, primary and secondary. Primary evidence records the actual words of someone who participated or witnessed the events in question. Or it can also be newspaper accounts, diaries, official statements, photographs, videotapes. Secondary evidence, on the other hand, records the findings of someone who did not observe the event but who investigated primary evidence, which qualifies most history books. Historians have to weigh evidence carefully. "What a group says may not be what it does." A historian must analyze evidence by checking one source against the other. "The task of a trained historian is to arrange the material so that it supports a particular conclusion." He must also display the evidence in a manner that will clearly show that the conclusion drawn is a "proper" one.
Later in the article it explains that a historian compares traditional and new directions of historical research. In traditional research, historians have been categorized by their disciplines. There was social, cultural, intellectual, political, diplomatic, economic or psychological. They would present their findings in a narrative form, like a biography. The new directions try to explain the reason for people’s actions and thoughts. Also a new direction is the history of science and technology. A lot more of new fields of research have been discovered. Which have been influenced by other fields of knowledge such as psychohistory, psychology, demography, sociology, ethnohistory and etc..
History as a whole will help me in understanding the very controversial subject of abortion that I am contemplating in doing as my graduating project. Abortion seems to be a never ending battle in society. Since the very creation of it, people have taken opposition or supported it. This article helps me understand my job in covering this subject and how to classify my research. For example, I am presently browsing through the Internet to see what the world has to say about it. This article has thought me that I need to verify each source I get some may be
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Historiography, Knowledge, Research, Scientific method, Historian, Historical method, What Is History?
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