The Historian’s Craft

In the second chapter and on page 50 of The Historian’s Craft, Marc Bloch writes, “I ask questions.  I note, compare, and compute answers.”  Though he was talking about things happening in the present, it applies to history.  It spoke to me in particular, because it gives me an idea of how to write the upcoming paper.  I will have to ask questions about why I think the Fall of Rome occurred and why I think that is the cause.  Since there are many sources, I will have to compare all of them and draw a conclusion, according to Bloch.

In the third chapter, on page 111, Bloch writes, “depending upon the circumstances, agreement of one testimony with the other testimonies may lead to opposite conclusions.”  This means something to me, because it explains that the information I find may not be exactly what had happened, but it can give me a good idea of what did.  This is also helpful, because I will definitely find that the people have different views on the actual outcome.  It is something to look back on when comparing different sources.

In chapter four, on page 145, Bloch writes about a certain inscription.  Nothing very important, but it was written for a reason.  He says, “Yet, nothing can be more variegated than the evidences which there await the probing of the scholar’s lancet.”  This urges me to think about how to begin looking at the evidence.  I makes me want to start with looking for evidence of certain incidences, so I can break it down.  After I break it down, I will definitely be able to compare and contrast all of the gathered sources.

Carl Becker’s Argument

Carl Becker argues that since “History is the memory of things said and done,” the common man is an historian.  Everyone has memories, sees things in a certain way, and imagines what will happen because of it.  History, in Becker’s argument, is anything that leads to something, including something as simple as opening a door.  After one opens the door, since it happened in the past, it becomes history.  A man becomes “his own historian” by the decisions he makes and on top of that, why and how he came to the conclusion that something should be done.

Historians can be very objective, because when writing historical facts, they write what they see and what they believe concerns them.  This being said, the things that historians write can be bias, so one can only see it from one point of view and not from what something looks like from another.