What is History?
To start, let's look at history in a very basic way. By definition, history is the recollection of past events that occurred since the beginning of time. History is examined in many different ways, and is taught in a variety of different styles as well. Many historians classify history in five different types: Social History, Economic History, Political History, Military History, and Cultural History.

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Added 6/6/2011 Prespective of History



Social History is history related to the cooperation of tribes and societies. Many times, people depended on others for food, shelter, and generally speaking, survival. Each tribe/society will aid their members in a myriad of ways. In the 20th century, for example, the two World Wars occurred and many nations, especially those nations challenged by Hitler in Germany, were not getting along at all. At the end of the war, the United Nations (UN) was established to not only maintain world peace but to also help many of these nations get along better. Later on, there were numerous civil rights issues in the United States, especially the maltreatment and discriminatory attitudes towards African Americans. For many years, this group of people were challenged greatly by the racists in the south and by the US government, but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a great leap in improving social relations and potentially trying to end an unprecedented chapter in Social History.

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Economic History is history related to economics, in many cases, the development of trade. Trade was important to society because it allowed one group of people to trade goods/services to other groups in exchange for other goods/services. Over time, trade became more and more sophisticated, until the point where governments were formed and they were the ones who were controlling all trade activity. We can also look at economic history through the Great Depression of 1929. During this time, people lost money, banks closed, and jobs were lost. During his four years as president, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made huge efforts to help stimulate the economy, get people back to work, and, most importantly, to implement plans that would make sure that this would not happen again. Unfortunately, as we see today, these efforts were not completely successful since the United States is in yet another depression, the worst since 1929.

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Political History is the history related to government. Each society had their own form of government. Governments started out as a small council and eventually grew in complication to meet the needs of the people. Today, the United States has a type of government called a Presidential Democracy. This means that citizens vote in elections, the nation is run by a president, and that the people have certain inalienable rights, as indicated by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Our government also practices a system called Checks and Balances where one branch (legislative, executive, judicial) does not have more power than another. In other parts of the world, governments are not stable, such as in Iraq as a result of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Additionally, in places like Libya, the people are working hard to overthrow their government in the name of freedom.

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Military History is history related to weapons and war. In earlier times, weapons were simply spears and guns. As more and more weapons evolved, they got more complex and as a result, weapons included cannons, missiles, and even atomic bombs. These weapons were used more and more as time went on, and were used especially in tragic times of war. In modern times, the United States is engaged in a multitude of wars, one being the war in Iraq. This war was declared as a result of the 9/11 attacks and has been going on since 2003. The original purpose was to overthrow Saddam Hussein and get rid of the weapons of mass destruction but now, we are trying to make Iraq a democratic government and are trying to leave the government to the people as we prepare to withdraw the troops. Additionally, the U.S. is engaged in a war in Afghanistan, also declared as a result of the 9/11 attacks. The purpose of this war was to capture Osama bin Laden and defeat his terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda--both are believed to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks on our country. As of May 2, 2011, Osama Bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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Cultural History is history related to the beliefs, hopes, and dreams of people in history. Cultural history examines religion, ways of art, types of music, use of literature, and types of crafts made. When we study cultural history, and all types of history, we can better understand how people of the past lived and how the people of our future will be affected. During the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans tried very hard to preserve their cultural traditions despite the harsh discriminatory world in which they lived. However, during this period, they were able to make important advances in areas like music, literature, and art. The main enduring impact of cultural history was that it diffused (spread) to other countries throughout time and to other parts of the world, which influences what we see in our modern world today!

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Written by Jeffrey
July 2009: Summer project
Jeffrey April 29, 2011: Updated while in high school

Source:
Short reading on "How We Look At History"