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Some thoughts on History to get us started. I know that, like CMH Clark, I want to be there when they understood what is has all been for.

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some thoughts on history to get us started
Some thoughts on History to get us started
  • I know that, like CMH Clark, I want to be there when they understood what is has all been for.
  • Like JH Plumb, I think history is necessary to kill the past. Without history we becomes the captives of our past which can be used, and has been by traditional and totalitarian societies, to enslave our minds
  • Like Ronald Wright I want to know the answer to Gauguin's three simple questions :
    • Where do we come from?
    • What we are ?
    • Where are we going?
  • I think historians, like scientists, base their interpretations and arguments on the evidence they observe, read, see etc. History does require some the use of imagination but it is essentially a search for the truth. Thus not all historical writing is of equal value . Nor, unfortunately in our search for answers, is the evidence on which all history should be based.
causation diagram

Before fuse is lit revolution not certain but powder keg is developing

Causation Diagram
  • IGNITION = Revolution now almost certain. What causes this?

Fuse = chain of events leading to final explosion. What are these?

Powder Keg created by tension and conflict

What ideas, leaders, groups, events and situations contribute to the development of the powder keg?

causation e g road accident
Causation e.g. Road Accident
  • Immediate Causes
    • Faulty break
    • Drunken driver
    • Poor road construction
    • Heart attack
  • Long term causes
    • Invention of internal combustion engine
    • Increasing number of vehicles per head of population
    • Greater power of engines
some broad historical approaches
Some broad historical approaches
  • Marxist Historian’s look for economic causes and the imperatives of class war – “ all history is the history of class warfare” DETERMINISTS
  • Liberal historians see individuals and events as being of primary importance - Humans partly have the freedom to choose their destiny
  • HAL Fisher “there can be no generalizations, only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize the play of the contingent and the unforeseen.” - The importance of chance
  • Recently the importance of the role of ideas and culture has gained ground.
part of the fascination of history is this central debate about what makes it all happen
Part of the fascination of history is this central debate about what makes it all happen.
  • How free are we to influence history or are we ,like all life, part of an evolutionary process that began billions of years ago in which we merely imagine we play a decisive role?
  • Do human decisions really make a difference on the course of history?
principle of multiple causation
Principle of Multiple Causation

In human affairs we rarely find situations with a single cause. They usually have many causes. Some may be seen to be more important but all are contributing factors

I also think that the prevailing ideas of the time of the events are very important to any understanding of history.