mari history - Prehistory History is the record of what has...

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Prehistory History is the record of what has happened up to the point that you are reading this sentence. People have been recording their own histories for the past 10,000 years, but people have been around for much longer than that. Historians are challenged to write history that reflects what happened before people began to record it for themselves. So who actually writes history? There is a simple answer to this fundamental question – - the winners. The winners write the history. How can this be? Have you ever known a town to continue to write articles about how they lost a Super Bowl 16 years ago? But if you go to the local sports pages of the town whose Super Bowl team won 16 years ago, there are still references to that win. This is not to say that history is a sports game. However, there are teams (civilizations), coaches (kings), quarterbacks (generals), game plans (economic policies), and loyal fans (citizens) in world history, so perhaps the analogy is not too far from the truth. Here are two examples of winners writing the history: we learn about the Ancient Egyptians in elementary school instead of the Ancient Nubian Civilization, regardless of the fact that the Nubians built pyramids, lived along the Nile River, and had their own entire culture; the Egyptians beat up the Nubians and therefore received the privilege of writing the history of the region. From the winners we also learn about the American Indian Seminole Tribe of Florida which was forcibly removed from its homeland because the U.S. government decided the lands were needed for white settlers. Who writes the history about the Great Seminole War in the early 19 th century? Certainly not the Seminoles who were eventually captured, chained, and marched to an Indian reservation in the state of Oklahoma. So when we read history, it is with a grain of salt; in other words, we must be careful about the stories we learn, which may be from a single viewpoint (the winning team) and may not reflect the truth with 100% accuracy. Saying that, as historians, we do the best we can to research all sides before passing on information.
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How do we know something is the truth? We rely on traditions , our own experience , and authority . Tradition gives us stories that are passed down from generation to generation (example: the Bible), and are considered to be a part of our social history. Our own first-hand knowledge allows us to experience truth (example: we can see that the ice cream is strawberry, regardless if someone else tells us it is chocolate). Authority can be in the guise of a person, a book, a document, a picture, or anything else that we believe has truth coming from it. Of course, traditions may just be the passing on of a continuous lie. Experience may be skewed, or slanted (look out the window; does your direct visual experience tell you the earth is flat? Yes.) Authority may be suspicious.
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This note was uploaded on 06/30/2009 for the course ACCT Payroll taught by Professor Thompson during the Fall '09 term at Kaplan University.

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mari history - Prehistory History is the record of what has...

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