History And The Past Analysis

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History and the past are two words that seem to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, when these words come up in conversation many people automatically reflect on their time in grade school when memorizing the capitals was the standard. The past though, is so much more than that, and the documented interviews contained within the pages of The Presense of the Past prove just that. Roy Rozenweig and David Thelen delve into the minds of Americans in an attempt to recognize how the public understands the past and the trustworthiness of the knowledge they gained. The answers received not only surprised the authors, but also proved that in one aspect or another, people connect with the past in many ways.
At the onset of the authors’ investigation,
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As this manuscript demonstrates, history and the past are two very different things. Generally, history is more formal and distant while the past connects each individual to form a bond that would otherwise be nonexistent. The past encompasses family, friends, and community among other aspects of life, and as one respondent explained, “When you think about the past, you feel comfortable, like you belong, and that is the way I feel with my family.” This is a recurring theme throughout the responses, and the ties to family appear to bind people with history in a way that turns the subject from words in a textbook into a topic of substance. This inescapable connection to the past enables individuals to experience history frequently, and is perhaps one of the most accessible forms of the past. Capturing moments with photography, attending family reunions, and sharing information with future generations aids in engaging people with the past. The value of this information is priceless for the people that pursue it. Discovering the past in this way is something individuals can easily relate to, and it ties them to a time they may not have felt …show more content…
Connecting individuals to their past seemed to be the most effective because it engaged people, and even if they questioned their knowledge, it revealed that they were more aware of the past than they previously thought. While the gathering of data was not traditional, it was nevertheless extremely valuable.
Considering that many people believe approaching the past on their own terms is crucial to their comprehension, an effective engagement between historians and the public would center on each individual. The connection between their past and history in general, illustrates that their ancestors helped shaped history which contributes to the appreciation that what they learned in grade school or from other sources does apply to

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