Today, history is accepted as the account of the past events, based on evidence. The word history was derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘historia’ which refers to ‘inquiry’ or ‘judge’. This word was then borrowed by the Classical Latin as ‘historia’ which means a research, description, written account, investigation of the past events. Historians believe that history is made up of multiple perspectives as well as many accounts, but the most significant thing is the evidence to support what these accounts have about history. The evidence can be in form of a theory, fiction, and artifacts among others. Moreover, history can be defined as the term that relates to the past events, collections, discoveries as well as the memory about certain events. Scholars explain history as an academic discipline that uses narrative to analyze and examine the past events and causes and effects of these events. However, history can be made through exploring details across time and place and also by exploring information of micro-histories across empires. Accordingly, the understudy explains more about what is history, while looking at Hegel’s view of history and different theories of history.
The past influences how people interpret the nature of history regarding what evolved over centuries as well as how things continue to change today. However, the contemporary study of history involves the study of various religions and different thematic aspects of the historical investigation. Also, history is taught as an academic study of the past events in institutions. Herodotus who was a Greek historian in the 5th century BC is considered as the “father of history” because together with his contemporary Thucydides he helped to create the foundation of the present study of the human history. Historians write the history in the context of their own period, and also in regard to their prevailing ideas of how they view the past. Moreover, historians use history to give lessons to the community. According to Benedetto Croce, history is formed by the development of a “true discourse of past” by producing an analysis and narrative of the past events that relate to the human race. Benedetto also explains that the modern account of history is devoted to the institutional development of the past discourse. However, all the events that are preserved and recalled in a realistic way contain the historical record. The aim of a historical discourse is to classify the bases which significantly contribute to the development of precise past accounts.
Furthermore, history is sometimes defined as part of humanities and also part of social science. To explain this, human beings create history by giving rise to a fixed sequence of development stages of civil society, commerce, the law as well as the government. Johann Gottfried Herder argues that human nature is a historical product since humans act diversely in various periods of historical development. The historians use the humanities to explain the knowledge of human history in all its elements of the past. Social science is therefore carried out in the modern culture, where the past history is used for the benefit of the present culture. Both the humanities and social science help in understanding the history of human beings and therefore, history relies on the study of human nature as well as human action. The historians can examine everything and incorporate literature, sociology, art, etc., in order to understand the culture and various periods, social scientists can explore a narrow range of various topics by certain methods. Therefore, history can be characterized as the architectonic discipline between the humanities and social sciences.
Hegel’s View of History
Hegel’s opinion about history is one principle of history that tries to analyze the meaning of history. Hegel explains history as a comprehensible process driven towards a certain condition. History can be a process of understanding human freedom. Hegel views the connection between the ‘’objective” history and subjective development of a personal spirit as a significant thesis of unfolding history. He further explains history a manner in which the spirit realizes itself as well as its own perception. However, Hegel creates the history of the world through a narrative of stages of the human freedom. He also creates specific world-historical events that were involved in the process of bringing human freedom into his exploration of history.
Theories of History
There are different theories that explain more about history. Marxist theory and Everyman theory are among the theories that try to clarify history in different ways.
The Marxist theory explains history as a way in which people from different social classes survive. This theory explains that the powerful people control the resources and wealth while the powerless people struggle for their survival. Moreover, the Marx theory explains that social classes have not always been there, but the earliest human societies were based on co-operation but not exploitation. The society that existed in the ancient time was referred to hunter-gatherer society that depended on getting enough resources through collaborative work of hunting and gathering. Today, the ruling class attempts to exploit people into accepting that there are no options to capitalism. Also, this theory shows that the reality of life drives individuals into searching for alternatives to explain the struggle brought by these concepts. Marxists believe that the human nature is based on material forces. Therefore, for humanities to exist, they have to create the rations of life which enable them to survive. This theory states that the development of skills to enable people to get by the struggle for survival results in physical changes. Therefore, the Marxist theory gives a framework for evaluating human society as well as the decrees of its development.
Everyman theory views history as an account of a collective experience of the common people. This theory explains how individuals lived in significant events. Everyman theory states that history is a story of how the ordinary people lived. This theory further explains that the principle of history includes the memory of things that were done and said. The role of ordinary people is significant in studying history because they allow the historians to have an effective view of a certain period of the past. Ultimately, this theory holds that the world is shaped by the ordinary people, and to understand the history fully, one has to understand day-to-day lives of the people.
History is a transit that involves information about the past events. To understand history, it requires a constant rethinking of what counts as history. However, history can be defined as the term that relates to the past events and discoveries. Different theories have been trying to explain what history means, for instance, Everyman theory defines history as the experiences of the ordinary people, which include things that people have done or said. Furthermore, there are different forms of history that contain information about different fields such as, religious history, military history and also world history.