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Political history is the narrative and survey of political events, ideas, movements, organs of government, voters, parties and leaders.It is closely related to other fields of history, including diplomatic history, constitutional history, social history, people's history, and public history. Political history studies the organization and operation of power in large societies.
In two decades from 1975 to 1995, the proportion of professors of history in American universities identifying with social history rose from 31% to 41%, and the proportion of political historians fell from 40% to 30%.In the history departments of British and Irish universities in 2014, of the 3410 faculty members reporting, 878 (26%) identified themselves with social history, and political history came next at 841 (25%) faculty members.
The political history of the world examines the history of politics and government on a global scale, including international relations.
The first "scientific" political history was written by Leopold von Ranke in Germany in the 19th century. His methodologies profoundly affected the way historians critically examine sources; see historiography for a more complete analysis of the methodology of various approaches to history. An important aspect of political history is the study of ideology as a force for historical change. One author asserts that "political history as a whole cannot exist without the study of ideological differences and their implications."Studies of political history typically centre around a single nation and its political change and development. Some historians identify the growing trend towards narrow specialization in political history during recent decades: "while a college professor in the 1940s sought to identify himself as a "historian", by the 1950s "American historian" was the designation."
From the 1970s onwards, new movements challenged traditional approaches to political history. The development of social history shifted the emphasis away from the study of leaders and national decisions, and towards the role of ordinary people, especially outsiders and minorities. Younger scholars shifted to different issues, usually focused on race, class and gender, with little room for elites. After 1990 social history itself began to fade, replaced with postmodern and cultural approaches that rejected grand narrative.
Traditional political history focused on major leaders and had long played a dominant role among academic historians in the United States. These studies accounted for about 25% of the scholarly books and articles written by American historians before 1950, and about 33% into the 1960s, followed by diplomacy. The arrival in the 1960s and 1970s of a new interest in social history led to the emergence of the "new political history" which saw young scholars put much more emphasis on the voters' behavior and motivation, rather than just the politicians.It relied heavily on quantitative methods to integrate social themes, especially regarding ethnicity and religion. The new social science approach was a harbinger of the fading away of interest in Great Men. The eclipse of traditional political approaches during the 1970s was a major shock, though diplomatic history fell even further. It was upstaged by social history, with a race/class/gender model. The number of political articles submitted to the Journal of American History fell by half from 33% to 15%. Patterson argued that contemporary events, especially the Vietnam War and Watergate, alienated younger scholars away from the study of politicians and their deeds. Political history never disappeared, but it never recovered its dominance among scholars, despite its sustained high popularity among the reading public. Some political historians made fun of their own predicament, as when William Leuchtenburg wrote, "the status of the political historians within the profession has sunk to somewhere between that of a faith healer and a chiropractor. Political historians were all right in a way, but you might not want to bring one home to meet the family." Others were more analytical, as when Hugh Davis Graham observed:
Readman (2009) discusses the historiography of British political history in the 20th century. He describes how British political scholarship mostly ignored 20th century history due to temporal proximity to the recent past, the unavailability of primary sources, and the potential for bias. The article explores how transitions in scholarship have allowed for greater interest in 20th century history among scholars, which include less reliance on archival sources, methodological changes in historiography, and the flourishing of new forms of history such as oral history.
In the course of the 1960s, however, some German historians (notably Hans-Ulrich Wehler and his cohort) began to rebel against this idea, instead suggesting a "Primacy of Domestic Politics" (Primat der Innenpolitik), in which the insecurities of (in this case German) domestic policy drove the creation of foreign policy. This led to a considerable body of work interpreting the domestic policies of various states and the ways this influenced their conduct of foreign policy.
The French Annales School had already put an emphasis on the role of geography and economics on history, and of the importance of broad, slow cycles rather than the constant apparent movement of the "history of events" of high politics. It downplayed politics and diplomacy. The most important work of the Annales school, Fernand Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, contains a traditional Rankean diplomatic history of Philip II's Mediterranean policy, but only as the third and shortest section of a work largely focusing on the broad cycles of history in the longue durée ("long term"). The Annales were broadly influential, leading to a turning away from political history towards an emphasis on broader trends of economic and environmental change.
In the 1960s and 1970s, an increasing emphasis on giving a voice to the voiceless and writing the history of the underclasses, whether by using the quantitative statistical methods of social history or the more postmodern assessments of cultural history, also undermined the centrality of politics to the historical discipline. Leff noted how social historians, "disdained political history as elitist, shallow, altogether passe, and irrelevant to the drama of everyday lives."
MaxRange is a dataset defining level of democracy and institutional structure (regime-type) on a 100-graded scale where every value represents a unique regimetype. Values are sorted from 1-100 based on level of democracy and political accountability. MaxRange defines the value (regimetype) corresponding to all states and every month from 1789 to 2015 and updating. MaxRange is created and developed by Max Range, and is now associated with the university of Halmstad, Sweden
The Annales school is a group of historians associated with a style of historiography developed by French historians in the 20th century to stress long-term social history. It is named after its scholarly journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale, which remains the main source of scholarship, along with many books and monographs. The school has been highly influential in setting the agenda for historiography in France and numerous other countries, especially regarding the use of social scientific methods by historians, emphasizing social and economic rather than political or diplomatic themes.
Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians have studied that topic using particular sources, techniques, and theoretical approaches. Scholars discuss historiography by topic—such as the historiography of the United Kingdom, that of WWII, the British Empire, early Islam, and China—and different approaches and genres, such as political history and social history. Beginning in the nineteenth century, with the development of academic history, there developed a body of historiographic literature. The extent to which historians are influenced by their own groups and loyalties—such as to their nation state—remains a debated question.
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.
Diplomatic history deals with the history of international relations between states. Diplomatic history can be different from international relations in that the former can concern itself with the foreign policy of one state while the latter deals with relations between two or more states. Diplomatic history tends to be more concerned with the history of diplomacy, but international relations concern more with current events and creating a model intended to shed explanatory light on international politics.
Social history, often called the new social history, is a field of history that looks at the lived experience of the past. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the United States. In the two decades from 1975 to 1995, the proportion of professors of history in American universities identifying with social history rose from 31% to 41%, while the proportion of political historians fell from 40% to 30%. In the history departments of British and Irish universities in 2014, of the 3410 faculty members reporting, 878 (26%) identified themselves with social history while political history came next with 841 (25%).
Frederick Jackson Turner was an American historian during the early 20th century, based at the University of Wisconsin until 1910, and then Harvard University. He was known primarily for his "Frontier Thesis". He trained many PhDs who became well-known historians. He promoted interdisciplinary and quantitative methods, often with an emphasis on the Midwest. His best known publication is his essay "The Significance of the Frontier in American History", the ideas of which formed the Frontier Thesis. He argued that the moving western frontier exerted a strong influence on American democracy and the American character from the colonial era until 1890. He is also known for his theories of geographical sectionalism. During recent years historians and academics have argued frequently over Turner's work; all agree that the Frontier Thesis has had an enormous effect on historical scholarship.
Charles Austin Beard was an American historian who wrote primarily during the first half of the 20th century. A history professor at Columbia University, Beard's influence is primarily due to his publications in the fields of history and political science. His works included a radical re-evaluation of the Founding Fathers of the United States, whom he believed to be more motivated by economics than by philosophical principles. Beard's most influential book, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913), has been the subject of great controversy ever since its publication. While it has been frequently criticized for its methodology and conclusions, it was responsible for a wide-ranging reinterpretation of American history of the founding era. He was also the co-author with his wife, Mary Beard, of The Rise of American Civilization (1927), which had a major influence on American historians.
The historiography of the French Revolution stretches back over two hundred years, as commentators and historians have sought to answer questions regarding the origins of the Revolution, and its meaning and effects. By the year 2000, many historians were saying that the field of the French Revolution was in intellectual disarray. The old model or paradigm focusing on class conflict has been challenged but no new explanatory model had gained widespread support. Nevertheless, there persists a very widespread agreement to the effect that the French Revolution was the watershed between the premodern and modern eras of Western history.
Cultural history combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. It examines the records and narrative descriptions of past matter, encompassing the continuum of events about a culture.
Comparative history is the comparison of different societies which existed during the same time period or shared similar cultural conditions.
History is the study of the past. Events before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events. Historians seek knowledge of the past using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, art and material artifacts, and ecological markers.
As soon as the term "Cold War" was popularized to refer to postwar tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, interpreting the course and origins of the conflict became a source of heated controversy among historians, political scientists and journalists. In particular, historians have sharply disagreed as to who was responsible for the breakdown of Soviet Union–United States relations after the World War II and whether the conflict between the two superpowers was inevitable, or could have been avoided. Historians have also disagreed on what exactly the Cold War was, what the sources of the conflict were and how to disentangle patterns of action and reaction between the two sides. While the explanations of the origins of the conflict in academic discussions are complex and diverse, several general schools of thought on the subject can be identified. Historians commonly speak of three differing approaches to the study of the Cold War: "orthodox" accounts, "revisionism" and "post-revisionism". However, much of the historiography on the Cold War weaves together two or even all three of these broad categories and more recent scholars have tended to address issues that transcend the concerns of all three schools.
The historiography of the British Empire refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to develop a history of Britain's empire. Historians and their ideas are the main focus here; specific lands and historical dates and episodes are covered in the article on the British Empire. Scholars have long studied the Empire, looking at the causes for its formation, its relations to the French and other empires, and the kinds of people who became imperialists or anti-imperialists, together with their mindsets. The history of the breakdown of the Empire has attracted scholars of the histories of the United States, the British Raj, and the African colonies. John Darwin (2013) identifies four imperial goals: colonising, civilising, converting, and commerce.
The Bielefeld School is a group of German historians based originally at Bielefeld University who promote social history and political history using quantification and the methods of political science and sociology. The leaders include Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Jürgen Kocka and Reinhart Koselleck. Instead of emphasizing the personalities of great historical leaders, as in the conventional approach, it concentrates on socio-cultural developments. History as "historical social science" has mainly been explored in the context of studies of German society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The movement has published the scholarly journal Geschichte und Gesellschaft: Zeitschrift fur Historische Sozialwissenschaft since 1975.
The historiography of the United States refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to study the history of the United States. While history examines the interplay of events in the past, historiography examines the secondary sources written by historians as books and articles, evaluates the primary sources they use, and provides a critical examination of the methodology of historical study.
Marxist historiography, or historical materialist historiography, is a school of historiography influenced by Marxism. The chief tenets of Marxist historiography are the centrality of social class and economic constraints in determining historical outcomes. While Marxist historians all follow the tenets of dialectical and historical materialism, the way Marxist historiography has developed in different regional and political contexts has varied. In particular, Marxist historiography has had unique trajectories of development in the West, in the Soviet Union, and in India, as well as in the Pan-Africanist and African American traditions, adapting to these specific regional and political conditions in different ways.
The historiography of Canada deals with the manner in which historians have depicted, analyzed, and debated the history of Canada. It also covers the popular memory of critical historical events, ideas and leaders, as well as the depiction of those events in museums, monuments, reenactments, pageants and historic sites.
The historiography of the United Kingdom includes the historical and archival research and writing on the history of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. For studies of the overseas empire see historiography of the British Empire.
The historiography of Germany deals with the manner in which historians have depicted, analyzed and debated the History of Germany. It also covers the popular memory of critical historical events, ideas and leaders, as well as the depiction of those events in museums, monuments, reenactments, pageants and historic sites, and the editing of historical documents.
African historiography is a branch of historiography concerning the African continent, its peoples, nations and variety of written and non-written histories. It has differentiated itself from other continental areas of historiography due to its multidisciplinary nature, as Africa’s unique and varied methods of recording history have resulted in a lack of an established set of historical works documenting events before European colonialism. As such, African historiography has lent itself to contemporary methods of historiographical study and the incorporation of anthropological and sociological analysis.
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