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The Underground Railroad: Memory or Myth - Assignment Example

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In the paper “The Underground Railroad: Memory or Myth” the author focuses on the role of a historian.  In formulating any historical interpretation, the historian must familiarize himself with a wide range of evidence and he must not ignore evidence that may contradict his own views.  …
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The Underground Railroad: Memory or Myth
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Download file to see previous pages Many populist leaders set down their thoughts in books and articles. Members of the movement have left many reminiscences and memoirs. In populist regions, towns had populist newspapers that have survived and are available to the historian. The historian’s problem, therefore, is not one of finding evidence, but one of selecting from a wealth of evidence.
By collecting such information, the historian can compile a collective portrait of populist leaders and compare this with similar composites of non-populist leaders. He can draw conclusions regarding the social and economic origins of populist leaders. The historian cannot conduct surveys of populist voters, but he does have available in the census a great deal of information on the economic, ethnic and religious characteristics of countries. By employing statistical analysis, the historian may measure the extent of the relationship between these characteristics and voting behavior.
“In the case of populism, the historian must weigh the significance of the various writings and most importantly, assess the extent to which particular individuals expressed the sentiments of the whole movement. More specifically, he must determine which writers best reflect the sentiments of the whole movement. In making such a determination, the historian must take care that his generalizations are based firmly on both rhetorical and statistical evidence.” (Chase, 1974).
The case is vastly different from the so-called “Underground Railroad” in the history of the American Civil war. While there is a wealth of information regarding the Populist Movement in America, there is a dearth of the same regarding the underground railroad. While the historian of Populism facing a seeming embarrassment of riches in surveying his sources; unfortunately, the historian researching on the underground railroad, faces a poverty of evidence regarding. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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