How history somewhat contradicts itself

The term “history” is too much of a generalization to be used in an academic setting by historians or citizens. History refers to the broad and expanded view of human history and the impact that its humans and nations have had on the planet. Therefore explaining the history of an event would just describe the general description of that event, whereas “histories” is a term that goes into an in-depth view of that particular event. I believe “histories” is a better term than “history” because “histories” explains the different accounts of individuals of a particular historical event.

A prime example of this is the difference between history and histories when explaining the Boston Tea Party during the American Revolution. If you had to explain the history of it, what would you say? Most people would reply that it was when the American Revolutionists dumped the British tea shipments into the Boston harbor in retaliation against the taxes the British government was imposing on the American colonists.[1] Although this description is accurate for the most part, it is a very simple and broad explanation. When you think of it in terms of histories, you take a look at both sides of the Boston Tea Party. History doesn’t really explain the motives of the revolutionists and the British government because it is one account of the event. Both sides are explained by multiple histories which explain how the British government had to enforce more taxes because they were in debt themselves but at the same time the Revolutionists didn’t just want the burden of more taxes put upon them so they retaliated. This is just one event that I think outlines the difference between histories and just the single history.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of history is “a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes.” [2] Although I think it is a very accurate definition, I believe it should not be used as the term of an academic discussion. This is because most people talk about the plural form of history, which is histories, without really thinking about it. Histories refers to the record of key events according to many different versions of the event. Everyone that witnessed these events should account for their version of history, instead of just summarizing the main points of that historic event.

So in essence, if you are discussing history in an academic setting or discussion, history is not the right term to use. It’s just way too general and it doesn’t give us the narrowed perspective and details that most historians study. In fact, some histories are solely based on ideas and logic but are not factually supported. For example, the great debate of evolution. How did we come into existence? Many historians and even scientists have pondered this and many theories and histories have been produced, but most can not really be proven. And in that regard, they are just histories that could be possible and are not history because they are not factually supported. These different theories are what defines the term “histories”. Therefore it would be proper to think in terms of histories because it’s discussing multiple points of view of that historical event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Boston Tea Party. Boston Tea Party Historical Society, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <http://www.boston-tea-party.org/‌index.html&gt;.

“’Dictionary.’” Merriam-Webster. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/‌dictionary/‌history&gt;.


[1] Boston Tea Party Historical Society. January 19, 2012 <http://www.boston-tea-party.org/index.html&gt;

[2]  Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia and Dictionary. “History”

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