Why is History so controversial?

Topics: History, Historiography, Primary source Pages: 4 (1158 words) Published: February 29, 2008
Incomprehensible facts of history get overlooked to fit the script people want to believe. So, history by its nature is a subject based on interpretation. As man and time changes, so do stories and tales that include history. Therefore it is necessary for students to make and justify decisions about the relative authenticity of historical texts. History can be compared to the situation in class where the teacher whispers a sentence into a student's ear, and then the student is to repeat the sentence to the next student and so on until the last student hears it. It is human to interpret what we hear or learn according to our opinions. In this example, each student can represent a decade of time and the sentence can represent history. In the settlement of the 13 colonies, there are different interpretations of the settlers and the natives. "Victors write history" and therefore the defeated ones have no choice but to rely on oral history. The difference between both articles "The planting of the colonies" and "The Early Settlers" written by Nevins & Commager and Zinn clearly show that either of them is biased or both of them are. Nevins & Commager talk more about superiority of the settlers and inferiority of natives whereas Zinn talks more about life and culture of the Natives and also that they were superior to the settlers in relations and humanity. In showing inferiority to the natives, Nevins & Commager state "…. filled with wild beasts, and peopled by warlike, cruel, and treacherous people still in the Stone Age of culture" (2). Moreover, Nevins & Commager also state "…. creeping on all fours from hills, like bears, with their bows in their mouths" (2). In contrast to this, Zinn writes "A French Jesuit priest….wrote: "No poorhouses are needed among them, because they are neither mendicants nor paupers…. Their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common" (2)....

Bibliography: apsansky-Werner, Roberts, et al. United States History. Prentice Hall, 2008.
Nevins, Allan, and Henry Steele Commager. A Pocket History of the UnitedStates. Pocket, 1989.
Zinn, Howard. A People 's History of the United States. Harper Perennial ModernClassics, 2005.
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