What is American History All About?

Watching the Mayflower Sail Away

In a nutshell, History is the story of mankind.  It’s the record of the thoughts and actions by a person or a people while living within the God ordained time and space allotted to them.  Each person’s life is a history which is added to the whole of the story of a people, of a nation, of the world.

The study of History is a massive undertaking, but so absolutely necessary to the growth and preservation of mankind.  As we review the history of the past, we can quickly see the good, the victorious, the bad and the destructive.  When learning history, beyond the rote of events and dates, there can come a point in viewing these real events and the people who were part of them, when the history comes alive and you find yourself full of questions for which you will want and need answers.

For example, it’s natural when reviewing a tragedy in history to quickly ask the question…Why?  How could that have happened?…but we need to learn to venture past the telling and hearing of the story to practical of asking…how can we prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again, and what can I do to prevent history from repeating that tragedy?

There is a need for the study of History, which is the dates, events, names, and timelines of the history.  This beginning in the study of history gives a framework on which to hang the more meaty substance of yet another way to approach its study.  Another way to study history would be to see and understand the great happenings in history through the actual words of those involved in those events.  What did they say actually happened?  What did they say to one another about what was happening?  How did they feel about the event? What was the timeline of small events which lead up to the why of the greater events?  Who were these men and women, and how did who they were help to create the history?  Was history made because they lived?  Were they history makers?  Did their lives really make a difference?  We can learn an aspect of history which is deeper, more personal, and more honest and truthful through the words of these men and women, through their writings and their correspondence with others….and so on.

In order to do this type of historical study. there is the requirement of reviewing historical documents:

  • Going to the sources and historical resources, which are as close as possible to the historical person and/or historic event in question.
  • Reading and studying their words in the context of their time.
  • Understanding the times in which they lived and the character of those people involved in a given event.

This type of study is more intense and more personally gratifying than picking up a contemporary history book, which is typically based on the prior writing of others, who have based their writings on the prior works of other, who based their works on the prior writings of others, and so on.  By the time you travel around the circle of the telling of the story, the story is very different from that which actually happened and was first told at its beginning.

This study approach to History, via primary sources and historical resources, does take time, persistence, and a hang-in-there attitude.  But the result….TREASURESTreasures that you have discovered and some you would never have believed you COULD find, BUT YOU DID!!

The study of the History of America, the United States of America, is such a case in point.  American History is vastly rich in factually documented evidence; evidence which cannot be refuted, though there be those who would try to deny its existence or try to interpret it outside of its context.  American History is full of AMAZING men and women who were truly heroes and pioneers ahead of their times.  And though there are those who may try to redefine who they really were, the evidence stands to correct those fallacies.

The American History Vault will present many treasures from American History for your own personal quest.  Together, we will try to critically think through these primary sources and historical resources. Hopefully, you will learn along the way, with a hands-on approach; how to develop your own personal opinions based upon your research and how to use the principles of critical reading and thinking.  But don’t let that scare you!  Because it will be all done in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment; where you may not even be aware you are learning how to rightly and correctly reason for yourself.