"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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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