Historical Sources: A Critical Evaluation
A critical evaluation of the role of primary and secondary historical sources in achieving historical objectivity, using the Factory Acts of 1842 passed in the UK and two films about JFK as case studies.
# 117342 | 2,593 words | 19 sources | MLA | 2009 |
Published on Nov 29, 2009 in History (U.S. Post-Modern 1965-Present) , History (European - 19th century) , Research Designs (General)
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This paper argues that the principles guiding the historian in the critical evaluation of sources must remain the same whatever form the source may take. The writer sets out to illustrate that all potential sources must be subject to external and internal criticism while simultaneously taking into consideration the very nature of the source itself. To this end the case studies of the 1842 Parliamentary Papers of the Commission into the Inquiry of the Condition of Children's Employment in Mines, NSAM 263 and 273, and Robert Drew's film "Primary" are used as examples of oral testimonies, published and unpublished documents and visual documentaries to determine whether a 'hierarchy of evidence' is a valid concept. The paper argues that the inherent nature of the source does not determine its validity as all have strengths, weaknesses, benefits and limitations. Finally the concept of primary and secondary sources is explored and the value of Oliver Stone's film "JFK" as a legitimate source for historical evidence is considered against a post modern and a more traditional view of history.
From the Paper:"The nature and type of potential sources for the historian is varied and whilst the writing of history may be subjective with regards to the selection of sources used, if using the problem-orientated approach to historical research all potential sources must be considered relevant in advance, whatever form they may take. Various sources can provide different kinds of information that may in turn prove to be contradictory, but it is the exacting methods and critiques of all possible sources, which must remain the same if the historian is to strive for overall objectivity. It has been argued that the first step in this process is to test the source for its authenticity , to criticise it externally."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Marc Bloch The Historian's Craft Manchester University Press: Manchester 1954
- Noam Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot Verso: London 1993
- Richard J. Evans In Defence of History Granta Books: London 1997
- G.P.Gooch History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century Longman: London 1952
- Keith Jenkins Rethinking History Routledge: London 1991
Cite this Argumentative Essay:
Historical Sources: A Critical Evaluation (2009, November 29) Retrieved July 12, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/historical-sources-a-critical-evaluation-117342/
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