The Perspective And The Purpose Of History

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The Perspective And The Purpose Of History History is a story told over time. It is a way of recreating the past so it can be studied in the present and re-interpreted for future generations. Since humans are the sole beneficiaries of history, it is important for us to know what the purpose of history is and how historians include their own perspective concerning historical events. The purpose and perspective of history is vital in order for individuals to realise how it would be almost impossible for us to live out our lives effectively if we had no knowledge of the past. Also, in order to gain a sound knowledge of the past, we have to understand the political, social and cultural aspects of the times we are studying. In What is History, Alan Bullock believes that history is an attempt to explain the sequence and connections of events. He believes that "History is to explain is not to explain why they had to follow, but why they did in fact follow." It is believed by Bullock that history is taken apart and is put together by an historian, so that it may yield new evidence, that will teach us a lesson from the past in order to become more aware of the future. This connective account helps us "get inside the skin of this man or group of men." Russel B. Nye also shares similarities with McPhee in History, Meaning and Method, saying that "History is a response to the eternal desire of human beings to know about themselves." Nye believes that history is concerned with societies and the individuals who live in these societies. He emphasises the importance of people, their individual choices, the values they hold and the angles of vision by which they have looked at themselves and the world. It is important to look at history if one is to understand how and why men and women have acted together in society. Nye also shares the same view as Bullock in suggesting that "History has the special obligation to recall, reassess and re-interpret the past, bringing it to bear on the present and translating it into a form each new generation can use." Nye believes that history is a social science which requires hypotheses and observations. If we are to make proper use of history, historians have to arrange it in a way that makes it easy for us to identify the facts.
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