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To what extent do historians own history - Essay Example

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Although the events of the past can be considered to be objective occurrences, it would have been impossible for us to be able to know exactly…
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To what extent do historians own history
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Download file to see previous pages While one may often mistakenly assume that history is actually in black and white, it is quite clear that when historians write down history, they do mainly according to the various social practices and policies of the country at the time (2002).
It is often up to the historians to help in determining the extent to which history will ultimately be rewritten (Foner, 2002). Oscar Wilde is credited as having once said that the one duty of the persons that happen to own history is to ensure that they rewrite it. Arguably, it has been claimed that modern historians have undertaken to fulfilling this aspect of their work a little too well. This is exemplified by the fact that in the modern day society, there is a large number of people who as opposed to celebrating the rather exciting anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the American continent, instead choose to mourn Columbus Day by choosing to remember it as a genocidal invasion of the continent by large numbers of White Europeans (Marsh 61). In contrast to the branding of murderer by some modern day historians, the popular perception of Columbus was quite different a hundred years ago when during the 400th celebration of Columbus’ arrival in the New World, President Benjamin Harrison paid tribute to Columbus and referred to his as the pioneer of both enlightenment and progression. In a similar vein, the American Indians who had previously been portrayed as being an extremely cruel and savage race, have now undergone a historical reprisal that has seen them often being pictured as being a being an extremely peaceful people that strive to live in constantly harmony with their natural environment.
In light of this change in the manner in which the past is recounted, Foner (2002) points out that although historical truths do happen to exist, it is often seen that the most difficult ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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