Assignment # 1

During the first day in my Modern American History class, I learned mainly about the way history is written and the sources it is taken from.

First and foremost, I learned that almost all history is biased. The bias can be very subtle or very obvious, however it is generally more difficult to pick up on a bias if the article is covering an earlier time period. This is mainly because we are very mentally and emotionally out of touch with events that occurred in, say, the 1860s; we take more for granted because we have less of an ability to form our own opinions on the topic.

I also learned about different types of sources from which history is derived. A primary source is a direct witness of an event and their account of what occurred. A primary source can also be a picture or a document from that point in history. A secondary source is someone who was not a direct witness to an event but rather heard an account of the event from a primary source or another secondary source. Our textbooks and much of the other history we will encounter are mainly comprised of secondary sources– primary sources, like letters, documents or photographs, are rare but often the best places to look for pure, unbiased stories.

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