Analysis of History

Maley Thompson

"History is the memory of things said and done. Every man is a historian." I agree that history includes everything said and done, to a certain extent. There are levels of history. The relevance to each individual's life determines the significance and importance of the certain event. Also, it should only be studied, perhaps, if the event has a certain impact on the person who is studying it. If an action proved to be important to an individual in the present or the future, that incident would be a sort of personal history. If it were meaningful to a large group of people, it would be a less individual kind of history. The type of history that is commonly taught is the less personal kind. History teachers think that this kind of national history has more relevance to each person's life than the more individual events. However, sometimes the personal events are more important and leave a bigger impact on an individual than the national history.
In one dictionary, history is defined as "a written account of events, particularly of those affecting a nation, institution, science, or art..." I think that this definition of History completely counteracts the original quote. In my opinion, if one were to do something that only effected himself, it would still be history. It would not have that big of an impact on the world, but to that person, it could have been very influential. Another definition of history says that it " is a methodical record of important events which concern a community of men." Once again, in my opinion history does not have to effect a community of men in order for it to be important or significant. Also, history does not have to be written in order for it to be relevant or to have an impact. Even a simple story passed from generation to generation with clues from the past is a form of history. If one were to write that cavemen had three legs, it would not make it history. Whether it is written or not does not affect the truth and facts of the situation. I agree that history is simply just the memory of past events. The remembrance of an occurrence shows that it is relevant enough to be remembered.

It is important that a historical event is remembered the same by all. Every person has a different perspective on occurrences because every person has personal bias and opinions. That is what makes every person individual. Personal prejudice can come from ethnicity and background; people from different environments and races tend to thing contrarily. Also, age and gender can affect the personal opinions of an individual. For example, a young woman would tend to think differently than an old man on Women's Suffrage. Geography and time also play key roles in personal judgement and bias.

History must be taught in order to learn from the mistakes of the past and use them to prevent or repeat occurrences in the present or future. However, there is more to history than what is taught in schools. To me, anything at all significant in the past is history.