Many of us do not know that we are surrounded by history, whether we study it or not. Our holidays and ceremonies, our religious beliefs and practices, our social tradition, even our political and legal systems are many examples of history living around us. No one needs to be qualified to study history every one of us can read and discuss it. However, the general public’s view of history is often corrupted by oversimplifications of it. People tend to respect the story more than the analysis of it, historians often assign responsibility, blame or liability. They also like to make their nation and societies appear more advanced, civilized and superior than others in their historical accounts. But this type of record taking of an event makes the future civilization more confused about the past. That’s why the records of history can never be trusted because of peoples perspectivism and relativism on recording events untruly can affect us in the present day.
History has always been recorded by historians but there is no way of proving that the person’s accounts are credible so historical records can never be trusted because of perspectivism or how the authors view on the subjects is partial and limited by his or her perspective. The text ‘Indians’: Textualism. Mortality and the Problem of History by Jane Tompkins have expressed this idea very clearly, as she provided how each author’s take on the same account of the relations of Native of Americans and the European settlers were different. Tompkins wrote, “He says that what fascinated him as a young man about his country’s history was the ‘massive narrative of the movement of European culture into the vacant wilderness of America’ ”(Tompkins, 103). This depicts how Miller’s work about the history of New England colonies never accounted or mentions the native that already lived there. Her word choice of vacant proves us how never to always trust what we read because different authors record events differently based on their perspectivism of the topic.
Furthermore, historical records have always had two or more different views of the event making it very confusing on what to believe. As stated from text “Norman Heard’s White into the Red summation of the comparative treatment of captive children . . . seems to contradict some of Axtell’s conclusion. Most children were treated brutally at the time of capture. Babies and toddlers usually were killed immediately”(Tompkins, 111). This evidence shows how Norman Heard’s account of Indians treatment of captive settlers was portrayed as savage barbaric people who inflicted pain on their enemies. This counters Axtell’s view of native Indians because as he stated it was a “privilege to be captured by North American Indians” showing how Indians were very friendly and kind to others, (Tompkins, 110). These both accounts of the same event in history show us how history record cannot be trusted because they are always affected by authors view on the subjects and that they are partial and limited by his or her perspective.
History records have been alternate throughout time because of peoples perspectivism and this has affected us greatly in the present-day, such as we’ve been taught history inaccurately and we victimize ceratin people wrongfully because of what we knew of them in the past. For example, many of us expect Native Americans as happy and friendly people but in reality, they are opposite of that, because of how they were victimized and taken advantage of in the past. As stated in EMPIRE OF INNOCENCE by Patricia Nelson Limerick “white woman murdered by Indians. Here was surely a clear case of victimization, villainy, and betrayed innocence. But few deaths of this kind occurred in American history with such purity; they were instead embedded in the complex dynamics of race relation,”(2). This depicts how Natives were victimized by historians as the bad guy who while in reality the colonist were the ones who killed millions of there people and taken advantage of them, so how come a small case with no proofs of Indians being violent was shown to portrayed them as the bad people here.
History records never recorded events truly they were always altered and this was affected by the author’s relativism of the event, there is no one good side in history everybody feels they are the victims but who decide what’s right and what’s wrong. As wrote in EMPIRE OF INNOCENCE “? ‘having practically destroyed the aboriginal population and enslaved the Africans’ the white inhabitants of English America began to conceive of themselves as victims, not agents, of the Old Worl colonialism”(Limerick, 10). This shows how the same colonies who took advantage of the Native killed their whole race and taken there lands are saying they are being the victims. Also, this shows the history is inconsistent and how we should not always trust record because no one knows who the good or bad guy, no one can pass judgment. Also, many colonists were considered human and nice such as the case where most Puritans were portrayed. As stated “Francis Jennings’ The Invasion of America (1975) rips wide open the idea that the Puritans were humane and considerate in their dealings with the Indians . . . early settlers lied to the Indians, stole from them murdered them, scalped them, captured them, tortured them, raped them”(Tompkins, 106-107). As depicted how no in many account settlers shown as the savior and good people in history but in reality they did as much pain as any other evil person would, this shows how every story has two more sides and how no one can choose or pass judgment on certain group or person.
History is important to each every one of us because we as humans learn from it expand our minds on it, we study from our past to push our future but if the past is recorded falsely and depicted inaccurately how can we truly know the truth. Historian will always make mistakes and never record true accounts of the events. This lead the next generation to believe in false lies such as how celebrate Thanksgiving and Columbus day but never know what actually happened, the truth of how the European genocide an entire continent and that why we should never trust history records because of perspectivism and relativism affect how the event is recorded and this affects our understanding of history in many ways.