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Schools of American Historiography Defining Historiography: Two historians using the same facts may come to two different interpretations of a historical event. Contemporary British and American views of the battles of Lexington and Concord would likely differ because the two sides held different assumptions. Any two historians several years later also hold different assumptions, and produce different historical accounts. Decades later other historians declare that the previous historians only perceived part of the truth. Generation after generation rewrites history and theoretically comes closer to the truth. In actuality each historian reflects the time period in which they live. The study of changing historical interpretations, shifting emphasis, and different methodologies is called historiography. Domestic History- Four Schools Progressive Historiography (1900-1940’s): Four different schools of historians emerged in the 20 th century. The first, the Progressive school, named for the Progressive reform era, dominated historiography from the 20 th century to the end of the Second World War. Like the writings of most intellectuals, the themes of the Progressive historians reflected the issues and concerns of their time. The Progressive movement was a collection of reforms designed to adjust to changes brought on my industrial urbanization. A second influence upon these historians was the rise of the social sciences – economics, sociology, psychology, etc. – as separate fields of study. Historians borrowed heavily from these new fields for insights into history, correcting what they saw as the overemphasis on political history. Progressive historians stressed the differences between competing groups, sections, and classes. American society was an arena of competing social and economic forces.
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