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What is History?. An Introduction . But first…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZE0TuKTpo4. Primary Sources: How do we know what we know?. The litter of history - accounts and pieces left behind by those who have passed.

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What is history

What is History?

An Introduction

But first….


Primary sources how do we know what we know
Primary Sources: How do we know what we know?

The litter of history - accounts and pieces left behind by those who have passed.

These are primary sources that can give up the secrets of life in the past.

Help us understand more about what was going on when they were created.

Historians learn to read these sources.

Primary source example 1
Primary Source Example #1

Letter 1 december 14 1915
Letter #1: December 14, 1915

My Darling Wife.

I hope dear you are just well as I am fine. I received letter allright. Wish you darling first a merry xmas from a Loving Husband – Bert xxx

May God Bless all in the Coming Year & Prosperity

Writing soon.

Letter 2 may 18 1916
Letter #2: May 18, 1916 .

Bugler H.H. Goss, 59381, 21 Battalion, Second Division, 4 Brigade, Canadian Base Depot, Bouelles Camp, LeHarve, France.

My Dear & Loving Wife & Child.

Just a P.C. hoping dear you & dolly are just well as I am filling time at present dear.

I received your loving hand letter last night & I am finding you a card for the lass as you ask dear.

I will write tomorrow all well as I am on duty now.

From your loving husband & daddy. xxxxx Bert

death notice for Herbert Goss – author of “a kiss from France” – “killed in action,” in the Ypres salient, Belgium, June 24, 1916.

Primary source evidence2
Primary Source Evidence

  • Record everything you did in the last 24 hours

  • Put a checkmark beside any item for which there will be a trace.

  • How many of these traces will likely be preserved? Circle those.

Primary source evidence3
Primary Source Evidence


  • How well do those traces represent your life?

  • What do they say about you?

  • What might be some of the challenges historians face?


  • As a group, generate a list of historical primary sources

Cause and consequence what is hidden from view
Cause and Consequence: What is hidden from view?

The historian, like the insurance investigator, sifts through evidence to determine the causes of events — often from a multitude of possibilities. 

Cause and consequence
Cause and Consequence

what were the actions, beliefs, and circumstances that led to these consequences?


Cause and consequence1
Cause and Consequence



My Math Mark

Historical perspectives
Historical Perspectives

Taking historical perspective means understanding the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past.

Historical perspectives can we understand the past
Historical Perspectives: Can we understand the past?

  • What is the poster about?

  • What similarities and differences exist between the style of dress in the poster and that of today?

  • Do images of beauty change over time?

Historical perspectives1
Historical Perspectives

For your consideration….

Why were Canadians so willing to fight in 1914 in a foreign war that had so little to do with Canada's self-interest?

Historical perspectives3
Historical Perspectives

Interview with Canadian WW 1 veteran Leslie Hudd, aged 86, August 25, 1983.

Q. Did you want to be in this war?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you crazy?

A. Yes, we were crazy, but we didn’t know it.

Q. Did you have any idea what it was going to be like?

A. No, we didn’t have any idea what it was going to be like.

Historical perspectives4
Historical Perspectives

Q. What did you think war was?

A. An adventure. We never thought about being killed, you know. I thought I was going to be able to come home and tell everybody about it. It never entered my mind that I might not come back. We wanted to get to it as fast as we could, because it might be over before we got there.

Historical perspectives5
Historical Perspectives

Why in 2001 with Afghanistan War and 2003 with Iraq was there so much opposition to Canadian participation?

Ethical dimensions of history what do injustices mean for us today
Ethical Dimensions of History: what do injustices mean for us today?

 Historians attempt to hold back on ethical judgments about people in the midst of their accounts, but, when all is said and done, if the story is meaningful, then there is an ethical judgment involved.

We should expect to learn something from the past that helps us to face the ethical issues of today.

Ethical dimensions of history
Ethical Dimensions of History

What do we owe the people of the past?

Ethical dimensions of history1
Ethical Dimensions of History

Are we obligated to right injustices of the past?

Ethical dimensions of history2
Ethical Dimensions of History

Are we obligated to memorialize soldiers?

Does this glorify war?

Ethical dimensions of history3
Ethical Dimensions of History

What does it mean if we say yes, we are obligated?

What does it mean if we say no, we are not obligated?

Who decides what history is considered important?

Continuity and change is change always progress
Continuity and Change: Is change always progress?

  • Watch the video on Chinese Canadians to understand the concept

  • Study the picture on the next slide of a classroom from 1903

  • List all the things in the picture that are different from today (change)

  • List all the things in the picture that are the same today (continuity)

Historical significance
Historical Significance

  • Look at the list of historical events on the next slide

    Of the ones you have heard of:

  • Which do you think is the most important?

  • Which do you think is the least important?

Historical significance1
Historical Significance

  • European exploration of the Americas

  • Industrial revolution

  • The Plains of Abraham

  • Underground Railroad

  • Louis Riel

  • The war of 1812

  • The end of slavery in the British Empire

  • Free public schools

  • Canadian Confederation

  • World War I

  • Canadian women vote

  • Chinese Head Tax

  • Prohibition

  • The Great Depression

  • World War II

  • The atomic bomb

  • Birth control is legalized

  • Birth of rock music

  • The Charter of Rights

  • The end of the USSR

  • September 11, 2001

Historical significance2
Historical Significance


  • Come to a group consensus on which is most and least important

  • How did you decide? What was your criteria?


  • Generate a list of criteria you can use to determine if an event is historically significant.

Historical significance3
Historical Significance


  • Did the event result in change?

    • How profoundly were people affected?

    • How many people were affected?

    • Was the change long-lasting?

  • How does the event reveal to us of the past?

  • Is the event relevant to the present?

  • Who is the event important for today?

  • Has the event become more important over time?

Show your understanding
Show Your Understanding


Which is the most significant moment of your life? Why?

  • Write a paragraph or create a display.

  • Explain why it’s significant using the criteria.

  • Choose one other historical thinking concept to relate to your event.

  • Use key questions from the posters to guide your discussion.