Saturday, July 31, 2004

Historical Criticism

Historical Criticism. This is another reprint of a public domain source dealing with history. This one is from the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia.

From the site:

Historical criticism is the art of distinguishing the true from the false concerning facts of the past. It has for its object both the documents which have been handed down to us and the facts themselves. We may distinguish three kinds of historical sources: written documents, unwritten evidence; and tradition. As further means of reaching a knowledge of the facts there are three processes of indirect research, viz.: negative argument, conjecture, and a priori argument.

It may be said at once that the study of sources and the use of indirect processes will avail little for proper criticism if one is not guided chiefly by an ardent love of truth such as will prevent him from turning aside from the object in view through any prejudice, religious, national, or domestic, that might trouble his judgment. The rôle of the critic differs much from that of an advocate. He must, moreover, consider that he has to fulfil at once the duties of an examining magistrate and an expert juryman, for whom elementary probity, to say nothing of their oath, makes it a conscientious duty to decide only on the fullest possible knowledge of the details of the matter submitted to their examination, and in keeping with the conclusion which they have drawn from these details; guarding themselves at the same time against all personal feeling either of affection or of hatred respecting the litigants. But inexorable impartiality is not enough; the critic should also possess a fund of that natural logic known as common sense, which enables us to estimate correctly, neither more nor less, the value of a conclusion in strict keeping with given premises. If, moreover, the investigator be acute and shrewd, so that he discerns at a glance the elements of evidence offered by the various kinds of information before him, which elements often appear quite meaningless to the untrained observer, we may consider him thoroughly fitted for the task of critic. He must now proceed to familiarize himself with the historical method, i. e. with the rules of the art of historical criticism. In the remainder of this article we shall present a brief résumé of these rules apropos of the various kinds of documents and processes which the historian employs in determining the relative degree of certainty which attaches to the facts that engage his attention.

Friday, July 30, 2004

What is History? An Essay from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

What is History? An Essay from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. This is a strange little site which has an essay on what history is from the 1911 Britannica. It is a little hard to read but is interesting.

From the site:

The word history is used in two senses. It may mean either the record of events, or events themselves. Originally (see below) limited to inquiry and statement, it was only in comparatively modern times that the meaning of the word was extended to include the phenomena which form or might form their subject. It was perhaps by a somewhat careless transference of ideas that this extension was brought about. Now indeed it is the commoner meaning. We speak of the history of England without reference to any literary narrative. We term kings and statesmen the makers of history, and sometimes say that the historian only records the history which they make. History in this connection is obviotisly not the record, but the thing to be recorded. It is unfortunate that such a double meaning of the word should have grown up, for it is productive of not a little confusion of thought.

History in the wider sense is all that has happened, not merely all the phenomena of human life, but those of the natural world as well. It includes everything that undergoes change; and as modern science has shown that there is nothing absolutely static, therefore the whole universe, and every part of it, has its history. The discovery of ether brought with it a reconstruction of our ideas of the physical universe, transferring the emphasis from the mathematical expression of static relationships to a dynamic conception of a universe in constant transformation; matter in equipoise became energy in gradual readjustment. Solids are solids no longer. The universe is in motion in every particle of every part; rock and metal merely a transition stagc between crystallization and dissolution. This idea of universal activity has in a sense made physics itself a branch of history. It is the same with the other sciencesespecially the biological division, where the doctrine of evolution has induced an atttudc of mind which is distinctly historical.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

History of Antigua and Barbuda

History of Antigua and Barbuda This is a good overview of the history of Antigua and Barbuda. I know I would like to visit this country soon!

From the site:

Antigua was first inhabited by the Siboney ("stone people") whose settlements date at least to 2400 BC. The Arawaks who originated in Venezuela and gradually migrated up the chain of islands now called the Lesser Antilles succeeded the Siboney. The warlike Carib people drove the Arawaks from neighboring islands but apparently did not settle on either Antigua or Barbuda.

Christopher Columbus landed on the islands in 1493 naming the larger one "Santa Maria de la Antigua." The English colonized the islands in 1632. Sir Christopher Codrington established the first large sugar estate in Antigua in 1674, and leased Barbuda to raise provisions for his plantations. Barbuda's only town is named after him. Codrington and others brought slaves from Africa's west coast to work the plantations.

Antiguan slaves were emancipated in 1834 but remained economically dependent on the plantation owners. Economic opportunities for the new freedmen were limited by a lack of surplus farming land, no access to credit, and an economy built on agriculture rather than manufacturing. Poor labor conditions persisted until 1939 when a member of a royal commission urged the formation of a trade union movement.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Teaching about India

Teaching about India. This essay has ideas for teaching about India. This includes dealing with the history of India.

From the site:

India, a significant area of Asia in the past, is a very important part of today's world. Therefore, the peoples and places of India should be emphasized in the social studies curriculum. Consider the following statements, which justify a prominent place for India in the social studies education of young Americans.

1. India is the second most populated nation in the world. With over 700 million people, one out of five persons on this planet is from South Asia.

2. India's geographic position places the country strategically in control of the Indian Ocean basin. India is bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west, the Bay of Bengal on the east, the Indian Ocean on the south, and the Himalayan Mountains on the north.

3. More than 4,000 years ago, civilization flourished in the Indus River Valley at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Later, Indo-European invaders established their own civilization, which contributed greatly to human knowledge in several fields of learning. Of note is the concept of zero, which Indians passed on to the Arabs, from whom Europeans learned it.

4. India is the source of several religions. Hinduism is a world religion practiced by more than 700 million believers and dates back more than 3,000 years. Although most Hindus can be found in South Asia, the practice of Hinduism is worldwide. Also dating back to the ancient period was the formation of Buddhism, a religion that eventually spread throughout Asia. Other religions that developed in India include Jainism and Sikhism.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

William McKinley

William McKinley This is a biography of American President William McKinley.

From the site:

William McKinley ( January 29 , 1843 - September 14 , 1901 ) was the 25th President of the United States , from 1897 until his assasination in 1901 .

McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio , January 29 , 1843 . He attended the public schools, Poland Academy, and Allegheny College . Following graduation he taught school, then at the start of the American Civil War enlisted in the Union Army on June 23 , 1861 , as a private in the Twenty-third Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered out as captain and brevet major of the same regiment in September 1865 .

Following the war, McKinley studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1867 . He commenced practice in Canton, Ohio . He was prosecuting attorney of Stark County, Ohio , 1869 - 1871 , and was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth, and Forty-seventh Congresses ( March 4 , 1877 - March 3 , 1883 ). He was chairman of the Committee on Revision of the Laws (Forty-seventh Congress). He presented his credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-eighth Congress and served from March 4 , 1883 , until May 27 , 1884 , when he was succeeded by Jonathan H. Wallace, who successfully contested his election. McKinley was again elected to the Forty-ninth, Fiftieth, and Fifty-first Congresses ( March 4 , 1885 - March 3 , 1891 ). He was chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means (Fifty-first Congress).

McKinley was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1890 to the Fifty-second Congress. He was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1884 , 1888 , and 1892 . Standing for election with his running mate Andrew L. Harris , McKinley was elected Governor of Ohio in 1891 , and reelected in 1893 , serving until January 13 , 1896 . He was elected President of the United States in 1896 .

Monday, July 26, 2004

History of the World

History of the World This is a short essay which tries to sum it all up!

From the site:

This is my attempt to put up a decent essay on world history with some of my favorite history links. My name is Jeff Coons and I am a history teacher in Perryburg, Ohio.

History of the World

Homo sapiens first arose on the Earth between 400 and 250 thousand years ago during the Paleolithic period. This occurred after a long period of evolution. Ancestors of humans had been using simple tools for many millennia, but as time progressed tools became far more refined and complex. At some point humans had begun using fire for heat and for cooking. Humans also developed language sometime during the Paleolithic. During this period all humans lived as hunter-gatherers who were generally nomadic.


A major change occurred around 8,500 BC in the Fertile Crescent area of the Middle East when humans adopted agriculture. Soon after it was developed independently or spread to China, Egypt, and the Indus Valley. Several millennia later agriculture developed in Africa and in the Americas. Some areas such as Australia did not use agriculture until relatively modern times, although in some areas of Australia, fish-based farming was practiced by the aboriginal population which is thought to have arrived 50,000 years before the present.

Agriculture led to several major changes. It allowed far larger population densities. It also created, and allowed for the storage, of food surpluses that could support people not directly involved in food production. The development of agriculture allowed the creation of the first cities.

The development of cities has led to what has been called civilization. First in the river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates and soon after along the Nile, Yangtze, and Indus evidence of elaborate cities with merchants and rulers is found. At this same time developments such as writing, currency, and extensive trade were introduced.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

History of Albania

History of Albania This is a good overview of the history of Albania.

From the site:

Scholars believe the Albanian people are descended from a non-Slavic, non-Turkic group of tribes known as Illyrians, who arrived in the Balkans around 2000 BC. Modern Albanians still distinguish between Ghegs (northern tribes) and Tosks (southern tribes). After falling under Roman authority in 165 BC, Albania was controlled nearly continuously by a succession of foreign powers until the mid-20th century, with only brief periods of self-rule.

Following the split of the Roman Empire in 395, the Byzantine Empire established its control over present-day Albania. In the 11th century, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus made the first recorded reference to a distinct area of land known as Albania and to its people.

The Ottoman Empire ruled Albania from 1385-1912. During this time, much of the population converted to the Islamic faith, and Albanians also emigrated to Italy, Greece, Egypt and Turkey. Although its control was briefly disrupted during the 1443-78 revolt, led by Albania's national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeg, the Ottomans eventually reasserted their dominance.

In the early 20th century, the weakened Ottoman Empire was no longer able to suppress Albanian nationalism. The League of Prizren (1878) promoted the idea of an Albanian nation-state and established the modern Albanian alphabet. Following the conclusion of the First Balkan War, Albanians issued the Vlore Proclamation of November 28, 1912, declaring independence. Albania's borders were established by the Great Powers in 1913. Albania's territorial integrity was confirmed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson dismissed a plan by the European powers to divide Albania amongst its neighbors.