Six Key Characteristics in the Study of History



1. History is not a list of facts, facts must be interpreted by people.  They are necessary, but they do not speak meanings.


2. History is not about the past- it is about the relationship between the past and the present.  History is significant if it is relevant.  When we study history we must make the connection between past and present.


3. History is not only what happened, but what did not happen.  We need to explore the options not chosen in history; beware, this is counter-factual history.


4. History is not exclusive, but inclusive.  We need to study a broad range of perspectives to understand the things people do, the decisions they make, and ultimately who we, individually and as Americans, are.


5. We must study not only events, but conditions.  Why do events occur as they do at any particular time?


6.  History contains enduring lessons- but specific events do not hold true throughout all history.  The lessons of history are the general truths we find contained in the specific details.



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