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Is history objective

Updated: 8/19/2023
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15y ago

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I would say almost never. History is only as objective as the evidence you have. Usually the evidence, beyond very general statements of fact are entirely dependent on when, who by, why and how it was recorded. So whilst historians can piece together their best attempt at an objective account of any event, it is quite possible for them to slightly or even very wrong.

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15y ago
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10y ago

Writing history is or can be a very subjective task. In that sense the term "relative" is relevant. Because human nature is what it is, historians will try to be objective in order to make a case for their own reliability. However, being "objective" is almost old hat in that the events of the past are most certainly well known as an objective set of facts. And the closer the history is to the present the more objective it can be.

The historian however has another "duty" to his or her readers. That duty is to attempt an explanation for the vents of the past. The question of "why" must be addressed. And here we find subjectivity. Here is an example:

The time is 1932 and an anticommunist historianwishes to write about the Bolshevik revlution in Russia in 1917 and the early years before the NEC (new economic policy). The world knows that Kulak farmers in the Ukraine especially, lost life and property due to the early policies of Lenin. The writer can emphasize the brutality and betrayal of Lenin's own promises made before the revolution. The words I just used are tainted and what the anticommunist writer of 1932 will spoltlight.

On the other hand, a procomminist writer will deemphasize the negatives of the early Bolshevik years..perhaps place the blame of bloodshed on the Kulaks.

So, here we see the conflict the historian faces. Now we travel to 1935 and in the history classes of schools under State control in the USSR will avoid the works of the 1st historian I mentioned and teach the positive affects of early communism.

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