History and Government:What is the meaning on History?

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1a iii). Define the term  history

History as a concept comes from a Greek word ‘historia ‘ which means inquiry  ( Perkin 1970 and Crookall 1972).The historians of the last century such as  Carr (I960), define it as “a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the present and the past”. Gordon  (1967) defines it as the totality of human actions and endeavours, while Walsh writing in the same year saw history as the totality of past human actions and the narrative or account we constructor them now or a significant record an account.

These definitions are not different from those generated by African scholars such as Were (1979), which states that history is “a critical study of man’s activities as well as thoughts in, and interaction with his environment in time perspective” and Sifuna, ‘et al (1994) which  define it as  the study of all past human experience which  explains how various peoples came into being.

Although there is no generally accepted definition of the term “history”, most of the above definitions seem to point at one idea; people and their actions (events). From this, history can be taken, to mean a study of the aggregate of people’s past and present activities in time perspective, These activities must be of some significance to humanity.

 

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