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"History is a set of lies people have agreed upon? To what extent is this statment...

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zulka | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:59 PM via web

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"History is a set of lies people have agreed upon?

To what extent is this statment accurate?

Include this: Exploration and colonial settlement.

Please help me, this is my summer assignment!!! I will really appreciate it....!!!!!

THANK SO MUCH

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 23, 2010 at 1:22 PM (Answer #2)

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I've heard this quote before, and I suppose to some extent it's true.  "Lies" is such a strong word; however, every story (and that's what history is, a collection of stories) has more than one perspective. 

You may have read the poem in which six blind men are each touching an elephant, trying to figure out what, exactly the creature is.  One touches its side and says it's like a wall; one touches the tusk and says it's like a spear; the next touches the trunk and believes it's like a snake...and the list goes on (I've included the link below, in case you're interested).  My point is that we all see things a little differently based on our perspectives, our biases, our experiences, and whatever else has shaped us into the beings we are. 

So, when we're looking back at...let's say...a war, people will of course have different views as to who started it and why.  Only from the vantage point of time can there be any kind of merging of the views into what passes for truth--and history.

Think specifically of something like the famous "shot heard 'round the world."  There are all kinds of opinions about who shot and why.  Or what, exactly, caused the Civil War?  Once "history" settles on answers to questions like these, it may or may not be the truth, but it's the "lie" we've settled on. 

This same concept applies to whichever period in history you happen to be studying. Hope this helps get you started!

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 24, 2010 at 1:32 AM (Answer #3)

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The previous post was fairly accurate.  It's the "lies" word that is going to be a challenge in the statement.  It might be right and completely valid, but proving it is going to require substantiation that will prove without a doubt that events such as exploration and colonial settlement were consciously designed to increase indigenous people's suffering, drive profits through the ceiling, and that this conspiracy was deliberate.  Finding evidence to prove this is going to be a challenge.  I think that the statement is fairly accurate.  I would also say that while the wording might be a challenge, the idea of history meaning one thing to one individual or set of people and meaning another to an alternate group or individual is quite valid.  The aspect of colonial settlement meant one set of truths to the parent nation.  Increased political influence, wealth, and substantiation of nationalism might be one set of realities that were experienced.  This was a historical reality.  On the other side, the idea of oppression and being forced into violations of political, civil, and/ or economic rights were another set of realities experienced by those who were colonized.  In this light, one can see the basic idea of the statement in that history means different realities to different individuals.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 24, 2010 at 7:51 AM (Answer #4)

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Perhaps another answer is that generally, victors write the history.  If our history books had been written by Native Americans, you can imagine how differently they would read and what we might think differently about the people who settled and colonized the Eastern US.  The same would go for the history of the world if history was written and spread by those who were "colonized" rather than those who did the colonizing.

The fact is, those minority or less powerful perspectives are rarely if ever heard, so you could certainly classify much of what we pass off as the "truth" of history as lies because you just don't get the other perspective and as the previous poster said, no one can avoid bias.

Perhaps the most important lesson you might take from this inquiry is that there is no such thing as truth in history and this is a very important basis for any real examination or study of that subject.

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 24, 2010 at 8:13 AM (Answer #5)

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One must remember that it is the "winners" who write the history of an event.  For example, in viewing our own history and and the westward expansion, we (the winners) minimize the fact that we committed genocide in obtaining the land.  We justify it all by saying it was only a million people and they didn't need it all.  The native people of this country view it from an entirely different perspective.  The genocide for them was 20-30 million people.  Just how many died as a result of taking the land is anybody's guess.  Was it a million?  Was it 30 million?  The truth is somewhere between.  Rarely in a history book do we read that our government made treaties that they had no intention of keeping.  How many history books tell about the blankets tainted with smallpox?  We demonized these people at the time so we could feel better about treating them in such a vile way.  They weren't considered human.  We, as a country,  have never addressed this part of our past.  We have excepted the "lies" since it is more convenient.  Today, we call this spin.  

 

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:49 AM (Answer #6)

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History is in the eye of the beholder, and one person's immutable truth is another person's dastardly lie.  So sure, the quote is accurate, and also completely wrong, depending on your historical perspective.

Also, the word "lie" conveys something intentional, a deliberate attempt to mislead and distort for some nefarious purpose.  And while I'm sure this does happen and is happening at times even now, I don't find most historians all that malicious.  I think the "lies" stem much more from the passage of time and the lack of firsthand evidence to base a better assumption on.

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zulka | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted July 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM (Answer #7)

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"History is a set of lies people have agreed upon"

In reply to #6: May you please address the following in your answer: The EVENTS that led to the American Revoultion.

 

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zulka | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:59 PM (Answer #8)

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zulka | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted August 2, 2010 at 9:05 AM (Answer #9)

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One must remember that it is the "winners" who write the history of an event.  For example, in viewing our own history and and the westward expansion, we (the winners) minimize the fact that we committed genocide in obtaining the land.  We justify it all by saying it was only a million people and they didn't need it all.  The native people of this country view it from an entirely different perspective.  The genocide for them was 20-30 million people.  Just how many died as a result of taking the land is anybody's guess.  Was it a million?  Was it 30 million?  The truth is somewhere between.  Rarely in a history book do we read that our government made treaties that they had no intention of keeping.  How many history books tell about the blankets tainted with smallpox?  We demonized these people at the time so we could feel better about treating them in such a vile way.  They weren't considered human.  We, as a country,  have never addressed this part of our past.  We have excepted the "lies" since it is more convenient.  Today, we call this spin.  

 

May you please include in your answer the EVENTs that led to the American Revolution?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:50 AM (Answer #10)

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For a long time, we viewed Columbus as a hero and saw Missions as quaint. The Oregon Trail was an adventure. Although these are not lies, specifically, they were perpetrated by history books and bedtime stories because they were romantic and simple.
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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM (Answer #11)

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For a long time, we viewed Columbus as a hero and saw Missions as quaint. The Oregon Trail was an adventure. Although these are not lies, specifically, they were perpetrated by history books and bedtime stories because they were romantic and simple.
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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 4:11 AM (Answer #12)

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"History is a set of lies people have agreed upon?

To what extent is this statment accurate?

Include this: Exploration and colonial settlement.

Please help me, this is my summer assignment!!! I will really appreciate it....!!!!!

THANK SO MUCH

Hi there I know this late but better late then never or at less I hope so.

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

The first thing I have to ask you. I am sorry to do this but I have to ask. Did Bush JR. lie when he said WMD were ever to be found in Iraqi? Or when Bush JR. said "Mission Complete" about the war? Napoleon is also known to have said, “ History is written by the winners”. I have to ask you this question. Who dose writes History? The looser or the winner!?!

Now you ask, "To what extent is this statement accurate"?

Will Zulka the answer would be how did you answer my 3 questions.

Did Bush lie? Twice? And who writes our history?

Or Bush told the truth and losers can write our history of the winners the war they just lost.

The wars Bush started are now going on for 10 years. I do not see that as complete but if I am wrong let me know.

I have yet to see a book written by the Nazis telling us how the Americans won the war but if you see a book like that let me know.

You also ask about “Include this: Exploration and colonial settlement”.

Part 2 is next

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 4:12 AM (Answer #13)

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Part 2

Like New France (aka Canada) the French were the first Europeans to settle in mainland Canada and lost it to the British Commonwealth. The Louisiana Purchase was that French toke from Spain and put some French people on it and said it was theirs when if you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Empire you will see that I am right but if you want you can also look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

And see this (Parts of this area were still claimed by Spain at the time of the purchase.)[2]

The key word is part of this area but look at the map of the Spanish Empire before 1805 that before the sale of the Louisiana Purchase all of that land was in fact Spanish. The fact is Spain lost all of her wars on all fronts at this time in history. So the question is do you believe what the winners say in history. Or are willing to look at what the loses have to say. A coin dose have two side too it.

Here is a nether way look at the same quote by Napoleon: “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon”.

 

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 5:15 AM (Answer #14)

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Part 3

Here is some more for you the quote by Napoleon in French with a link to a French web site below. Napoleon clearly uses the word mensonges (lie) so the quote you listed is the best translation from French to English. The quote I listed is turn down by a lot because the word lie is too power for some people to use. But like I told you already winning and losing were is Napoleon at now dead and gone so he the loser he. If we bring him back what will he say to being miss-quoted. If Napoleon wanted to use some other word with a softer tone I sure he would have. I know this to be true because I have read some of his stuff and let me tell he was not a soft guy even with the King of England and both men were hard feared and hated each other equally. I will also add I know a thing or two about the French and I tell if he said lie he said it all right.

History is a set of lies agreed upon

http://www.maphilo.net/citations.php?cit=4998

L'histoire est une série de mensonges sur la quelle on est d’acord.

 

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 5:37 AM (Answer #15)

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part 4

I like you to don't trust those so called Experts, Educators, go look for you self researching begs the question. How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

http://www.whatthebleep.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_the_Bleep_Do_We_Know!%3F

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT50SV3W5K0

Just so we clear I never said I was an expert or that I am right about any I said but ever thing I did tell you can from some else and I do feel that most of what I said to be at less half right but this all right for me and me a lone. If you do your research right and dig until you can dig no more and your almost half right to make it yours you need to dig some more. That what the rabbit dose so should you. DIG DIG DIG and you will see the truth or the ACCURACY.

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:03 AM (Answer #16)

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For a long time, we viewed Columbus as a hero and saw Missions as quaint. The Oregon Trail was an adventure. Although these are not lies, specifically, they were perpetrated by history books and bedtime stories because they were romantic and simple.

What is a liar? A person who has lied or who lies repeatedly. Am I right? That a yes or no answer. What is being about Columbus today in all good school books? Columbus found American. What about the Vikings or the Chinese finding it first or should we ask the American Indians who really found American?

So I am saying Columbus found nothing but money no he stole that so he found nothing I was right the first time. A lie is a lie or liar and your cover up that liar by say it's a bedtime stories because they were romantic more lies on top of lies. When will you stop and look at your self you said Columbus did not find American FACT is fact so tell the kids the truth then. Do you really think the kids don't see that you lied to cover up another lie?

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:16 AM (Answer #17)

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I've heard this quote before, and I suppose to some extent it's true.  "Lies" is such a strong word; however, every story (and that's what history is, a collection of stories) has more than one perspective. 

You may have read the poem in which six blind men are each touching an elephant, trying to figure out what, exactly the creature is.  One touches its side and says it's like a wall; one touches the tusk and says it's like a spear; the next touches the trunk and believes it's like a snake...and the list goes on (I've included the link below, in case you're interested).  My point is that we all see things a little differently based on our perspectives, our biases, our experiences, and whatever else has shaped us into the beings we are. 

So, when we're looking back at...let's say...a war, people will of course have different views as to who started it and why.  Only from the vantage point of time can there be any kind of merging of the views into what passes for truth--and history.

Think specifically of something like the famous "shot heard 'round the world."  There are all kinds of opinions about who shot and why.  Or what, exactly, caused the Civil War?  Once "history" settles on answers to questions like these, it may or may not be the truth, but it's the "lie" we've settled on. 

This same concept applies to whichever period in history you happen to be studying. Hope this helps get you started!

Why are you white wash this question with a poem about an elephant the student ask you a question I at less try to answer the student you did a pretty little all the way round it but real never answer the question. True you never lie about but come on spill the story some the kids why you call your self an EXPERT.

Did you see my answer the time I put into it and I not a teacher and I will not call my self an expert but I did a better job answer her question but why ask the student if she need a dance or some facts with links to back them up oh I sorry you made a poem comparison and a lovely one at that yes very nice poem.

@#$%^&%%$*$(#*$$^#&@(@ poem get my meaning? I think the kids did.

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:23 AM (Answer #18)

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Perhaps another answer is that generally, victors write the history.  If our history books had been written by Native Americans, you can imagine how differently they would read and what we might think differently about the people who settled and colonized the Eastern US.  The same would go for the history of the world if history was written and spread by those who were "colonized" rather than those who did the colonizing.

The fact is, those minority or less powerful perspectives are rarely if ever heard, so you could certainly classify much of what we pass off as the "truth" of history as lies because you just don't get the other perspective and as the previous poster said, no one can avoid bias.

Perhaps the most important lesson you might take from this inquiry is that there is no such thing as truth in history and this is a very important basis for any real examination or study of that subject.

I will add you gave a list of some facts and very up front and frank short but frank I could call you a teacher a less next what I seen so far.

Nice work with no song and dance or poems.

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:32 AM (Answer #19)

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One must remember that it is the "winners" who write the history of an event.  For example, in viewing our own history and and the westward expansion, we (the winners) minimize the fact that we committed genocide in obtaining the land.  We justify it all by saying it was only a million people and they didn't need it all.  The native people of this country view it from an entirely different perspective.  The genocide for them was 20-30 million people.  Just how many died as a result of taking the land is anybody's guess.  Was it a million?  Was it 30 million?  The truth is somewhere between.  Rarely in a history book do we read that our government made treaties that they had no intention of keeping.  How many history books tell about the blankets tainted with smallpox?  We demonized these people at the time so we could feel better about treating them in such a vile way.  They weren't considered human.  We, as a country,  have never addressed this part of our past.  We have excepted the "lies" since it is more convenient.  Today, we call this spin.  

 

OH MY GOD. You use the "G" and 20-30 million people with the "J" word and you don't get shot at with like a canon. You could be dead for saying that he. I glad you did say I am shock some else knows what did happen on American soil. Very nice work there. Spin baby spin! YEH!

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:45 AM (Answer #20)

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History is in the eye of the beholder, and one person's immutable truth is another person's dastardly lie.  So sure, the quote is accurate, and also completely wrong, depending on your historical perspective.

Also, the word "lie" conveys something intentional, a deliberate attempt to mislead and distort for some nefarious purpose.  And while I'm sure this does happen and is happening at times even now, I don't find most historians all that malicious.  I think the "lies" stem much more from the passage of time and the lack of firsthand evidence to base a better assumption on.

I do like what you said but you left hole in the answer. I really need more input from or is that you final answer because in that I call trash. Sure ever thing is in the eye of the beholder but the students here don't have much to beholder so we need to show some thing to beholdeing too. Well like what do you mean by "lie conveys something intentional, a deliberate attempt to mislead and distort for some nefarious purpose". OK I think I get but do the student get it well like a for insistence he lie .... (HOLES) I mean you are a teacher are you not and you have to show us what you mean then.

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:53 AM (Answer #21)

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Part 5

I do know what you plan to do with your life but I hope you do better then what teachers  I saw here because you are the future don't listen to auntlori that teacher is not going to help ever stay away from poeple like that.

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jackwidow | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 7:09 AM (Answer #22)

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In reply to #5:

OH MY GOD. You use the "G" and 20-30 million people with the "J" word and you don't get shot at with like a canon. You could be dead for saying that he. I glad you did say I am shock some else knows what did happen on American soil. Very nice work there. Spin baby spin! YEH!

You use the "G" and 20-30 million people with ( NOT i forgot not sorry)

the "J"

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