What Is History

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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What is History? Carl Becker, a historian, says history may be defined as the study of development on human societies in time and in space. This definition is true.

Historians don't just study dates, presidents, and wars. They also aren't just interested in famous people either. Historians are interested in all of human societies. That's why the most important subject of history is man. Man has a lot to do with history. Man is what gave what we have this present day. For example, money houses roads, jobs and so on. Everyone has a history; everyone has a past. Which brings me to my next point.

The minute that a person is conceived that person begins to develop in time. In other words he begins to develop a past that keeps going and going until that person has no life to live. People aren't the only things that develop a past.

States, nations, the whole world actually have pasts. Everything around us has a past; for example Killeen has a past because the town had to start building somewhere. Killeen started becoming a town because Fort Hood was an army base so it started to bring more and more people to the area and because the people were coming to the area businesses started to pop up which means houses and such started coming along with those businesses. Instead of historians studying the past year by year the past is studied in something called time periods.

Space is the last thing that Becker said that history is a part of. Everything a human being does is influenced by the physical enviroment of the world. Natural resources, climate, soil, rivers, seas and mountains help out everything that a human being does. Historians study the history of human societies in any geographical area that man has been. For example towns or cities, parts of towns and cities, regions, states, nations, continents, the world and outer space. History can be studied in any geographical area just as long as there is evidence there to get the complete histoy of something.

Maybe this is everything that Becker meant when he described history as the development of human societies in time and space. That's why it's the true meaning of history.