Carl Becker, author of Everyman His Own Historian, explains in his own words the meaning of history. Becker uses a narrative and facts to support his position. Becker begins by dissecting the textbook definition of history. The definition of history begins as, “the knowledge of events that have occurred in the past”, and later Becker develops the definition to, “history is the memory of things said and done.” Becker supports his change to the original definition by analyzing the actual words used. For example, Becker replaces knowledge with memory. His argument is that memory is needed in order to recollect knowledge. I agree that theses two aspects work hand in hand. Becker further goes on to analyze the words memory and past in the same format. Becker also uses a short narrative to explain the fact that technically every thing is history as soon as it is done. Substantial history is only made if someone believes that the event or fact is relevant or important and gets others to believe it also as Becker goes on to explain, “Left to themselves, the facts do not speak; left to themselves they do not exist, not really, since for all practical purposes there is no fact until some one affirms it.” I completely agree with Becker’s take on history. History only takes form when others believe what you are saying a pass it on to others as truth. Many facts have been misinterpreted over time but is still believed today as history.
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