The Method of Historical Inquiry Why Do We Study History?
Recall History is what we choose to remember about the past. Our common experience binds us together.The Hall of Remembrance, USHMM
InterpretationHistory involves explaining peopleand events.Historians read between the lines.History can illustrate ideas.Speculation means guessing aboutthe past.
Interpretation and Illustration •What is happening in the image? •Which side created the image? Why?
ApplicationUse the past to understand thepresent.The past must engage in dialoguewith the present.Use personal experiences to makesense of the past.Examine situations in the past.
AnalysisHistory involves figuring outcomplicated situations.Break the event down into its parts:Which parts can you identify? Whichbattle was the turning point of the CivilWar?Examine each part. How are the battlesrelated?Try to create a time line of events:Which are causes? effects?
SynthesisHistory involves making sense outof a jumble of facts.You can search for patterns.You can speculate: Guessing atreasons for outcomes.You can predict: Could World WarII have been avoided?You can make generalizations:broad statements that summarize.
Synthesis: Creating A New Idea Draw your own conclusions: Dropping the atomic bomb - justified or unjustified?Hiroshima, Japan after the A-bomb
EvaluationHistory involves making judgmentsabout people in events.Example: You can examine all sides ofthe Civil Rights issue.You can debate the pros and cons ofintegrating the schools.You can describe the strengths andweaknesses of the Presidents policy.
EvaluationYou can examine the advantages anddisadvantages of the strategy of non-violence.You can judge whether a person, policy,or event measured up to a highstandard.Example: To what extent did Dr. MartinL. King, Jr. measure up to the standardof the Declaration of Independence, theConstitution, and the Golden Rule?
Why Study History?“If a nation expects to be ignorantand free, it expects what never wasand never will be.” — ThomasJefferson
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