History is the systematic study of history. Prehistorical events before the invention of written records are normally considered prehistoric. “Prehistorially” means prior to history. History proper is normally called the history of human societies. ” Historific history” is a broad umbrella phrase covering prehistorially derived materials and methods of investigation, with an emphasis on living peoples’ history, while “historic” is used to refer to events after the fall of civilizations.
The discipline of history was introduced by the French Revolution when it was felt that the prevailing system of study failed to adequately describe the rising changes taking place in Europe. A number of Swiss students in the seventeenth century developed what came to be known as the discipline of history which put forward the view that history could be studied from a comparative point of view, by considering ancient events as a model for modern events. Some historians argue that the discipline of history is not as difficult as many assume to be as wide-ranging as once thought. Indeed, good history teachers are rare, owing to the difficulty of teaching history properly and also because many young people regard studying history as somehow dishonest or elitist. Very few good universities allow history to be taught as a subject at the undergraduate level, with the great majority of educational history being taught only at the graduate or postgraduate levels.
The major objective of any history class, therefore, is to learn how to use primary sources to reconstruct events as accurately as possible. Primary sources include diaries and memoirs of living people, newspapers and pamphlets, travelogues, diaries of political and other prominent people, and so on. Primary sources allow a social scientist to form a complete and up-to-date picture of society as a whole, through the medium of primary sources. Such social scientists usually belong to one of two groups: historians and social scientists.
The field of history is vast, but it can be divided into four sub-fields. First there are the fields of history itself, such as anthropology, archeology, and history. Then there are the applied areas of history, such as political history, world history, and civil history. Finally, there are the humanities and social sciences, such as English history, American history, and Comparative studies in history. It should be noted that although these four sub-fields overlap somewhat, a good history teacher need always teach something distinct from his or her four main counterparts.
An anthropologist, as a teacher of history, does not study history in the same way as a historian would. Historians study past events while anthropologists investigate the cultural dimensions of those events. For example, a social scientist interested in ancient history may decide to focus on ancient Greece and Rome as her study subject. A geographer might choose to focus on ancient China. As each of these regions has its own language, culture, and ethnic group, a geo-historian has to learn the appropriate languages to access and understand past events in each area.
The last sub-field of history taught by most colleges and universities is political history. Unlike the other sub-fields, political history delves primarily into the politics of a country, the nations that make up that country, and how those nations interact with one another. Unlike anthropologists and ethnographers, political scientists study how history has affected these nations over time rather than how it affect the people who lived in those nations at the time. In this way, the field of political history is a pure science, concerned with the laws of nature as they affect human beings. It is a particularly fruitful sub-field for the social sciences, as it uncovers the interrelations of people within their countries and politics.