• Political History concentrates on the quest for power • C. R. Elton – “Political history is the study of that dynamic activity in the past which has direct relevance to the organizational aspects of society. It is concerned with those activities which arise from the fact that men create, maintain, transform, and destroy social structures in which they live. Dynamic activity depends on the presence of force—on the employment of energy—and the force applicable to political systems is power: the power to do things for, or to, other people. Power constitutes the essential theme of political history”
19TH CENTURY NATIONALIST HISTORY
• Nationalist histories written during the mid-19th century tended to describe politics as the inevitable triumph of ideals • Thomas Macaulay portrayed British history in the 17th and 18th centuries as the victory of the Whig idea of liberty over the despotism of the British monarchy • George Bancroft described American history as the flowering of a uniquely virtuous ideal of democracy
SHIFT IN EMPHASIS
• In the 20th century. and clergymen
. the material interests. diplomats. they have examined the family and social relationships. leaders of factions and political parties. and the psychological motivations of those who contend for power • Such as members of legislatures and lobby groups. historians tried to penetrate the rhetoric of politicians and discover the “real” causes of political activity – Influenced by Marxism and social science – Used techniques such as prosopography and collective biography. aristocrats.
CHARLES A. BEARD
• Wrote An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913) • Studied the economic interests of the American Founding Fathers and the means they used to engineer the drafting and ratification of the Constitution • Concluded that the Constitution was not created to foster freedom and democracy but to advance the immediate economic interests of a small group of wealthy property owners
SIR LEWIS NAMIER
• Reevaluated Macaulay’s interpretation of 18th century British politics by using the methods of collective biography – Examined the motives of individual members of Parliament and suggested that the great ideas expressed in the political rhetoric of the time had little impact on the actual processes of politics • Which were motivated primarily by material selfinterest
Jesse Lemisch. and Alfred Young have introduced the mass of ordinary people in their discussions of politics in the past – Have explored the influence of crowds and mobs in revolutions and political protest as well as the political influence of public opinion in general on politics
• Pioneers such as George Rudé. Albert Soboul. Ramsey Macmullen.
• Traditionally. regardless of social or economic class • They are especially concerned to examine the experience of the nameless and faceless. slaves. and the poor
.” people usually left out of accounts of struggles for political power – Women. costume. home life. or “inarticulate. and at their relationships with one another – They have provided descriptions of manners and morals. diet. and entertainment – They look at humanity in general. at the quality of their lives. social historians have looked at how human beings live and work together. children.
and popular crafts
. buildings. values. attitudes.SOCIAL/CULTURAL HISTORY
• A broad view of social history also takes in cultural history – An examination of the ideas. art. children’s stories. music. and beliefs that shape a society’s culture • Cultural historians try to reconstruct the pictures and ideas that guide people’s interpretation of the world – They examine evidence neglected by political historians • Folktales.
he sharply distinguished common features of Renaissance life • Not only elite preoccupations of statecraft. and economics but also the religion. diplomacy.•
VOLTAIRE AND BURKHARDT Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations
(1756) – Voltaire – Tried to elaborate on the idea that each age has a unique spirit expressed in all sphere of life • Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy – Jacob Burkhardt – Demonstrated that the Renaissance was qualitatively different from the Middle Ages – Although largely based on elite literary sources. morality. and social relations that governed the middle class as well as the aristocracy
thereby obscuring the differences between distinct groups within the nation – These historians instead have tried to create a social history that sets forth the distinctive culture and social relations of particular groups within society and that describes and explains how different groups interact
• Some modern historians object to this sort of attempt to generalize about the character or culture of an entire people or period – Argue that such generalizations create the false impression that nations can be regarded as though they were individual persons.
• The Making of the English Working Class (1963) – Used Marxist notion of class to analyze the class consciousness of British workers during the 18th and early 19th centuries – Argued that class was not an abstract concept that could be defined like a statistical category – Argued that class consciousness resulted from the experience of being a British worker during this period – Warned against merely assuming that since British workers were all workers that they automatically had a class consciousness that was identical and never changed – Insisted that the rise of class consciousness might follow similar patterns in different times and places.E. but that it never occurred “in just the same way”
• Historians who adopt a Marxist approach commit themselves to a specific focus and to the use of certain concepts – Notably Marx’s conception of class – These concepts may become unwieldy
.MARXIST SOCIAL HISTORY
endlessly repeated and exaggerated by the press. that perpetuated the myth that American was a “land of opportunity” for immigrants
• Poverty and Progress: Social Mobility in Newburyport – Stephan Thernstrom – Tested old cliché that America was the land of opportunity and that the descendants of immigrants moved up in society • Found that most did not and that they remained at the bottom • Some did move up and it was their story.
by focusing on how ordinary people have lived in the past.CONTRIBUTION OF SOCIAL HISTORY
• Social history has been a valuable corrective to the predominantly elitist orientation of political history – By reconstructing the lives and sometimes the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people. social historians have also increased our understanding of the distribution of power within societies • Social history provides an understanding of the relationship between how ordinary people lived and how societies as a whole have functioned and have been organized
. social historians have demonstrated how life has changed over time and deepened our understanding of the common humanity of people of all ages – Moreover.
• Social history lacks an adequate theory to link together facts of social history with facts indicating substantial historical change –Has causal difficulty explaining social change over time
Civilisations. Sociétés in late 1920s – Both men tended to operate outside the historical mainstream of the time
.THE ANNALES SCHOOL
• Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre founded Annales: Economies.
• Marc Bloch wrote a two-volume book on the Middle Ages (Feudal Society) where he never once described a battle. and peasantry • Lucien Febvre was interested in popular beliefs during the early modern period
. nobility. never recounted the life of ruler – Instead concentrated on the relationship between the three major classes of medieval society and the unique way each viewed the world • Clergy.
and by their desire to develop a theory that would explain social change over time
. by their willingness to try a new topic or source.CREATION OF THE ANNALES “SCHOOL”
• Bloch and Febvre created a forum for themselves and the new history they engaged in by founding the Annales – Gradually attracted a scattering of like-minded scholars – Not really a “school” • United by their frustration with traditional history and the way its practitioners monopolized the French historical profession. by their deep attachment to social history.
after World War II.AFTER WORLD WAR II
• Students of Bloch and Febvre would. create firm outlines of the Annales model of social change – Would take the energy and sense of adventure of the pre-war Annales group and give it a philosophical direction and justification as well as a more-or-less rigorous methodology
THE “LONGUE DURÉE”
• Primarily concerned with the “longue durée” (long term) • The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World During the Age of Philip II – Fernand Braudel – Deals with period from late 1400s to early 1600s • The Peasants of Languedoc – Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie – Deals with period from the 1300s to the 1700s
almost timeless. the single historical episode. is basically unimportant to the Annales historian – Because they are trivial in the long term • What is important to them is “structure” – Slow moving. trends that possess a life of their own • Human intervention hardly affects them at all – Examples of “structures” include climate and the basic demographic system
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie
.WHY THE LONGUE DURÉE?
• The event.
• Structures form the foundation of human life in the past – Even the slightest change in one of these structures has a profound effect on human life and activity • Annales historians are not completely deterministic – They do not claim that every aspect of human life and behavior is directly tied to structures – But they do argue that structures strongly influence history and play a larger role than any other factor in shaping the “event” (any shortterm structure-influenced activity by human beings) • The only way a historian can systematically study the slow movement of structures is to study them for a long period of time
had a big impact on everyday lives and actions of human beings
. cause some towns and cities to deteriorate and others to grow and prosper – One fundamental change in structure. altered demographic patterns. occurring over a century.STRUCTURAL CHANGE
• Braudel was concerned with longterm changes in economic structures which shifted the focus of international economic activity in the 16th century away from the Mediterranean – This shift caused secondary economic systems around the Mediterranean to decline. changed old trade routes.
of locating those crucial transition points when social or any other type of change takes place
• Annales model falls down when it tries to pinpoint exactly how changes in the underlying structures cause short-term changes to take place • Annales historians also have difficulty in isolating when things change.
000 wills over a 75 year period in the 18th century and counted various religious aspect embedded within them
• Baroque Piety and Dechristianization in Provence during the 18th Century – Michel Vovelle – Classic Annales work on changes in people’s beliefs over time – Sampled 30.
• Claimed that “indicators of piety” declined in a proportional and absolute sense as the 18th century progressed – Argued that this decline demonstrated that society in Provence became less intense in religious feeling during the 18th century – A fundamental change in attitude took place during this time and Vovelle asserted that he had precisely located one of those elusive transition points when social change took place
• Vovelle is never able to say why this decline in religious feeling took place when it did – Cannot link this change in attitude to any underlying cause • Did not even conclusively demonstrate that dechristianization occurred in the first place • Annales school made a good try at trying to account for causation in social history. but. in the end. at trying to develop a way to explain why social change takes place. it doesn’t quite make it