A Student's Guide to U.S. History (ISI Guides to the Major by Wilfred M McClay

By Wilfred M McClay

No kingdom in glossy historical past has had a extra strong experience of its personal uniqueness than the us. but few american citizens comprehend the immensely assorted assets of that experience and the attention-grabbing debates that experience continuously swirled round our makes an attempt to outline the US with better precision. during this creation to the research of yank historical past, Wilfred M. McClay invitations us to event the perennial freshness and energy of this nice topic as he explores a few of the enduring commitments and chronic tensions that experience made the USA what it truly is. writer: Wifred M. McClayPages: ninety six, PaperbackPublisher: Christendom PressISBN: 1-882926-45-5

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But it also should serve constantly to interrupt the monologues of our self-awareness, and even at times serve as a jamming mechanism. It has to do both of these things, and it is not quite doing its job when it fails to do one or the other. History defamiliarization; not only knowledge of ourselves, but knowledge of that which is other than ourselves. That is why we do not study only American history, or only modern history, or only Western history. That, too, is why it is false to say that “my history is America’s history,” and why the false premise behind such a statement is such a pernicious one.

But they make us more fully human, and more fully at home in the world, in time as well as space. We fail to honor our full humanity when we neglect them. Historical study can also unlock the hidden sources of certain ideas, dispositions, and habits in us, by showing us their rootedness in people and events that came before us. In fact, it is not at all far-fetched to understand historical study as bearing a certain resemblance to psychoanalysis in this respect, since both are enterprises intent upon excavating and bringing to conscious awareness the knowledge of consequential antecedents.

Such is the painful beauty of historical awareness. Our efforts to connect with the vanished past do not necessarily make us happier in any simple sense. But they make us more fully human, and more fully at home in the world, in time as well as space. We fail to honor our full humanity when we neglect them. Historical study can also unlock the hidden sources of certain ideas, dispositions, and habits in us, by showing us their rootedness in people and events that came before us. In fact, it is not at all far-fetched to understand historical study as bearing a certain resemblance to psychoanalysis in this respect, since both are enterprises intent upon excavating and bringing to conscious awareness the knowledge of consequential antecedents.

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