Jorge Alberto Jimenez Vidrio
Professor: W. B. Horlor
U.S. History 100
January 26, 2012
Interpretations of American History
There has been a notable change in the American History from the last 400 years until now. At the beginning the American History the subjects that the historians interpreted were politics, diplomacy and war. The only people who could do the interpreting were only white male Americans. The contemporary American historians wrote nearly about everything that affected everybody. This times were very different from what they are now, when you read history, you are reading the historian's point of view or encounter with the world. The historians were fully dedicated to this, they spend hours, days, years of their life's to prove the reality comes away. They were characterized by nationality or their school of thought. The historians can be Jeffersonian liberal, nationalist, progressive, feminist or postmodernist; for example, Perry Miller in the twentieth century American liberalism, Kenneth Stampp's was engaged with the civil rights movement, Kathryn Sklar's ideas were feminist (p.72). In those times everything was like they African American people couldn't be historians, because they only accepted white male Americans, also they were male chauvinist, women couldn't be historians and not only that, they were excluded from everything, they didn't have the right to vote, to be in the politics, work, they Jimenez 2
could not do anything. History is successful when it tells you how things where, the only thing that could take you there was the imagination, but now, with all the technology that we have, we even can make a picture or a sketch of how the things were. basing on the things that had been found also. One of the things that the historians did, they constantly criticize, correct and supplement other historian point of view, they get closer to the truth arguing with one another. Historiography reminds you that history is not a closed book, is a reminder that there is always something to argue in history, it make us think or see what was before everything, the changes that have been in the growth of America, politics changes, racial justice, sex, differences in the society, education, labor. There has been a notorious change or evolution on how America has change. There are four stages in which the writing of American history has passed: the providential, the rationalist, the nationalist and the professional.
The providential history in the United States from the seventeenth and eighteenth, ministers and magistrates and wrote a made of form of providential history. The puritans who settled in the United States believed that they were chosen by god that led to the form of their history to a holy chronicle one. Puritans used this form of writing for all men anybody that believed in god.
The rationalism, they were very different with the providential because they didn't believed that they were only chosen by god, they believed that opinions or actions should act on reason and knowledge not on their religious belief. They were ruled by the natural law was the idea of Newton, Locke, and the French philosophers (p.75). The rationalist Jimenez 3
historians were the educated class in the colonies, the new story they told was of progress and reason. most of the historians of the eighteenth century were layer-politicians, planter-aristocrats, merchants or professionals. Tomas Jefferson was influenced by this movement and later on write a book named Notes on the State of Virginia in 1785.This book allow to men to discover and pursue their destiny and believed that they were free. After that, no one was free from slavery. This proves that the history during the rationalism the politicians only tells you what you want to hear, like right now it happens the same, everything was and is only about wealth, power, rights.
In nationalist history changed the fact that in this stage the women contributed and argue in theirs perspectives or points of view. historians of women rewrote the story of America from the beginning to the recent past. They did not give women a place in the existing narratives, they just reconceived whole fields of history. An example of the women historians were Hanna Adams, Susanna Rowson, Elizabeth Peabody, and Emma Willard (p.76)
The professional historians started by the middles class that became educated through college or university which became commonly to only white males. History became a profession and the only way to access was to practice it and be at a advanced level in the subject. Their high opinion on distinguish scientifically and prove the truth from a romantic notion.
In this time we can see through what has passed American History and learned about the different changes that our history has had, and also this has help to have America Jimenez 4
how is it now. Right now we see the thing different, for example, women can vote, women can do a lot more things that they couldn't in the past, there is no slavery, everyone is free and follow their dreams and conquer their goals and that's a big change.