Unit – I



            The word ‘history’ is derived from the Greek word historia, which can be explained as enquiry.  The German equivalent of this term is Geschiche, meaning an intelligible and significant narrative of past events.  The Encyclopedia Britannica that the word history means the record of events. 


“History is a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the present and the past” – E. H. Carr.


  • Classifications Based on Wider Sense

Local History

  • Stories of Ramayana, Mahabharatha Vikramatitya etc.
  • Important cities – Madurai, Tanjore, Kanchipuram etc. and neighbouring places
  • Heroic leaders
  • Spiral Approach
  • Interest, Realistic
  • Monuments near in the villages

National History

  • Patriotism
  • Proud of the country

World History

  • Brotherhood
  • International understanding
  • Solidity of mankind
  • Organizations – League of nations, UNO, UNESCO etc.
  • World Leaders – Lenin, Gandhi, Einstein etc.
  • Greatmen theories
  • Classifications Based on Narrow Sense
  • Political History          : Kings, queens, warriors, etc.
  • Social History             : Peoples life history
  • Economic History       : Interest and progress
  • Cultural History          : Education, Art, dress, food, ceremonies etc.
  • Religious History        : Moral and Discipline
  • Constitutional History : Administration, law, civic responsibilities etc.


  • History is the study of man.
  • It is concerned with man in time, space and change.
  • It is a dialogue between the events of the past and progressively emerging future ends.
  • It is the story of the growth of human consciousness, both in its individual and collective aspects.
  • Continuity and coherence and the necessary requisites of history.
  • It is the study of human relationship.
  • It is a collection of date of past events.


By the term scope, we mean the breadth, comprehensiveness, variety and extent of learning experiences, provided by the study of a particular subject.

A brief account of the development of history as a branch of knowledge, will reveal the immensity of its growth in depth and extent.

During the course of centuries, become the universal history of mankind, depicting man’s achievements in every field of life.  There was a time when history was a mere collection of legendary stories, heroic ballads and folk talks, meant to be recited for their moral values.

But today no phase of human activity falls out side the field and jurisdiction of history.  The subject of history today includes not only a study of the political activities of man but also a study of his achievements in physical, social, economic, religious, philosophical, literary, artistic, cultural, industrial technological and scientific fields, right from the beginning of human life on this earth upto the present day.  Thus its scope has become very wide and long in fact as wide as the world and as along as the existence of man on the earth.

Wider Scope

Radial Diagram

Narrow Scope

  • Evolution of man on earth
  • Growth of civilization
  • Concepts and ideas
  • Achievements of great men


  • On the basis of Space or Geographical boundaries
  • World History
  • National History
  • Provincial or Regional History
  • Local History
  • On the basis of Time
  • History of Early Ages
  • Ancient History
  • Medieval History
  • Modern History
  • Contemporary History
  • On the basis of Conditions and Circumstances
  • Political History
  • Economic History
  • Social History
  • Religious History
  • Cultural History
  • Constitutional History


Biographical Conception

  • Thomas Carlyl, a product of Romanticist Philosophy, enunciated the biographical conception of history.  Great Men theory of History
  • Taylor asserts that the history of modern Europe can be written in terms of three titans: Napoleon, Bismarck and Lenin.
  • Emile – Rousseau
  • Gandhian  Era ( one can understand Indian History)
  • Napoleon life history (one can know about Italy, Spain, England, Austria etc.)
  • Biographies of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington  (help the students to understand American History)
  • It is best for primary school students
  • Leader’s life History
  • Principles and activities
  • Choosing the best leaders for learning

Evolutionary Conception

  • Darwin Theory
  • Primitive stage to civilized stage
  • History was conceived as a progress of evolution
  • Law of Progress
  • Unique cellular –  multi cellular
  • Continuous process

Cyclic Conception

  • Oswald Spengler, a German, interpreted history in terms of a morphological theory.

Eg. Four cyclic period

  • Spring       –      Child age         –     Origin
    • Summer    –     Young stage    –     Growth (Renaissance)
    • Autumn    –      Human age      –     Progress (Reformation)
    • Winter      –      Old age            –     Declain
  • As the reasons are cyclic, the history of mankind also can be considered a series of life cycles.
  • A civilization emerges, develops and dies and another is born.  This is the way some historians view history.
  • There are different ways of seeing the cyclic pattern.  One such concept is Indian theory of Rebirth – Prf. Toynbee differs from the Indian concept.
  • Toynbee believes a civilization continues to grow.
  • Twenty six civilizations which he has identified, no less than sixteen are now dead and buried.
  • Of the remaining ten, all but modern western society have already broken down.  The west itself, he maintains, is in a perilous position.
  • Spengler interpreted history into a life of nine cultures – Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Classical (Greek – Roman), Byzantine, Aztec and Western.
  • Every culture went through four distinct phase – spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Theistic Conception (Teleological theory)

  • The movements of history are guided by a Devine will, directing human destinies in conformity with a cosmic planner purpose.
  • For the Jew’s, the history was God’s plan of leading the chosen people to the promised lord.
  • St. Augustine, a saint philosopher of Christianity, interpreted history like this in his book, “The City of God”.
  • This theory holds that the sufferings defeats and disasters of mankind must have a meaning and the true problem is only to trace the hand of God in History.

Modern Concept

  • Scientific Approach
  • German Historian – Nebular, Leopold Von Ranke etc.
  • 19th Century – Sources, real matters, cause and effect, chronological basis.


The study of man and his wonderful development through the successive ages.

Greek Contributions


First philosopher used the word ‘Historia’- means legal dispute.

Herodotus (5th Century B.C)

  • Father of History
  • Narrative History
  • Travelled in many places.
  • To meet many peoples and collect data (oral)
  • Mentioned Greek – Persian war.

Thucydides (464-404 B.C)

  • Peloponnesian war
  • Cause and effect
  • Philosophy teaching by example
  • Scientific historian

Polybius (198-117 B.C)

  • Biographer of Greek History
  • First person wrote World History
  • History and literatures are different
  • Inscriptions, records – History may be written on the basis of above two.
  • Real incidents make history.

Plutarch (50-125)

  • Wrote 46 Greek and 46 Romans life history and compare it.

Eg. Theseus and Romulus

Demosthenes and Cicero

Alexander and Ceaser.

  • Author of ‘Life History’

Roman Contributions

Julius Caesar (100 44 B.C)

  • Author – Gallic War
  • Specialist in politics and military

Cicero (106-43 B.C)

  • Author – Commentaries on History
  • Followed three principles for writing history – Reality, Objectivity and Appropriateness

Livy (59-17 B.C)

  • Story teller
  • Write history from the beginning of the birth of Rome to his death
  • 142 volumes in 770 years history
  • Patriotism and special features of Rome
  • He said “Roman empire abolished very soon”

Tacitus (55-120)

  • Last in Roman History
  • Followed scientific history
  • Author – Rhetoric


  • History based on Bible
  • Old Testament
  • Divine History
  • Based on chronology

Eg. Annals, Chronicles

  • Christianity is the main reason for the downfall of Roman Empire – Pagans

St. Augustine (A.D. 354 – 430)

  • Author – Confessions, Decivitate Dei
  • He says the downfall of Roman Empire

Paulus Orosius (A.D. 380-420)

  • Wrote seven books against the non-Christians.
  • Follower of St. Augustine

Middle Ages

  • Religious belief
  • Importance to God
  • No Printing machine, no books
  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Mathew Paris, Lambert, Jean Froissart – their histories are belief.

Modern Period (15th Century)

  • Against God
  • Humanist Age (Renaissance Period) – Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli
  • Machiavelli (A.D. 1469-1577) – Italy – Author (The Prince)
  • Religious Reforms – Christianity split into two – Catholics  (believe God – Gods history)  and Protestant (Sources of history)
  • Jacques Bossuet (A.D. 1627-1704)
  • Author – Universal History
  • Baronius – ‘The Ecclesiastical Annals’ – 12 volumes
  • Religious ideas were shared in 300 years.

Age of Intellectualism (18th Century) – Causation period


  • France
  • Author – The Spirit of Law
  • Monarchy form of government
  • Structure of government – Law, administration, finance


  • Rationalistic thought
  • Research, thinking, science
  • Essay – Essaisurlers Mouers
  • Mentioned the Europeans discipline, economic, social, literature, art etc.


  • Author – Confessions, Social Contract, Emile
  • Education, art, research etc.

National Emotional Development

  • Rise of Germany is the rise of new world
  • Scientific method
  • Cause and effect
  • Lessing, Turgot, Herder, August-de-Comte
  • McCauley, Carlyle, Ranke
  • Theory of evolution


            Human life in this universe is like a continuous drama.  Men and women are the actors and actresses of this drama, which is being staged since the creation of the world.  It is the function of History to study the part played by human actors in this great drama.  History also watches that there is continuity of the theme of the drama and every part of the stage on the Earth is important for the total understanding of the theme.  If carefully analysed, History possesses the following dimensions: (i) Time, (ii) Space, (iii) Development, (iv) Continuity and (v) Ideas.  It is very essential to know the details of these dimensions.

  • Time

History can be a likened to a stream which has been flowing through the misty past.  All the historical events have taken place not in a vacuum but in time, which is continuous and is flowing like a stream.  This stream is always flowing onwards and cannot recede back.  History has to study the historical events in this stream of times.   It is very essential to understand the factor of continuous flow of time in order to understand the historical events in their proper sequence.   There are three dimensions of time: Location, Distance and Duration

Location of time means assigning dates to historical events.  It also means spotting the events on the line of time.  Location of dates is the most important thing for the development of time-sense.

Distance of time means the length of time that stands between two historical events.  For instance, the first war of Independence of India was fought in 1857.  Hence, we measure its distance from today and say that it was fought 132 years ago.  Similarly when we say Shivaji was born in 1628, we improve upon it by saying that he was born 361 years ago.  In fact we are interested to know what social, political and economic changes took place in India during the intervening years.

Duration of time means the actual period during which a certain event or movement lasted or a kingdom or dynasty flourished.  In this way we become more positive about he time taken by an event to occur or a kingdom to flourish.

  • Space/place

No doubt the events of history take place in time, but we should also remember that they take place on the surface of the earth.  Hence we cannot study history without the study of terrain and physical environment of a particular place.  For example, Alexander and Porus faced each other at the Jhelum and not somewhere else.  All the three battles of Panipat were fought at this particular place and not somewhere else.  It is quite clear that all historical events have been influenced by Geographical factors.  Thus there is great importance of place or space in the study of history.

            The importance of these factors i.e. time and space, has been recognized by all great historians.  It has been quite aptly remarked by Carlyle, “Time and space has been designated as the two lamps of History”.  Thus we can say that all historical events belong to a spherical time and a particular place.

  • Development

History is the story of man’s evolution and a never ending story of man’s social and cultural development in all ages.  Hence, there is an essential unity in History.  One period of History merges into another automatically.  Men and women of all ages have contributed their mite in bringing about the great social, moral, religious and political awakening and this process is going on continuously.  History is thus the tale of evolution of various cultures and civilizations through the ages.

  • Continuity

  It possesses a continuity which cannot be violated in any case.  Continuity of history means that it always looks forward a not backward.  It stats from the past and continues to go forward or to future.  Hence it is aptly said, “Springing from the events of the past centuries, History ever looks forward.  A debater to the past, it will be a creditor to the future.  It will determine the type of individual and social betterment through coming centuries”.  All these ideas constitute the continuity of History resulting in its development.

  • Ideas

Historical events are happened on the basis of the great leader’s ideas.  For example Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Democracy’, Ideas of religious leaders, political leaders, philosophers etc.  Their ideas give guidance to the people.


G.M. Trevelyan says, “History is not a subject at all but a house in which all subjects dwell”.  This statement very clearly underscores the fact that history is at the centre of several subjects and has very close relationship with the.  In the present-day-world, at school stage we have introduced social sciences, which comprise History, Geography, Civics and Economics.  Even this dispensation clearly underlines the fact that these subjects are interrelated and therefore naturally have close relationship with history.

History and Geography

            It is generally said that History without Geography is like a picture without a frame.  The history of a country has no meaning unless it has some reference to the particular space and geographical conditions of that country.  Every event occurs in time as well as in space.  The study of events in time comes under the domain of History, while the study of space comes under the domain of Geography.  Thus Geography and History fill up the entire circumference of our perception, Geography that of space and History that of time.

            We have to admit that physical features have shaped and formulated the actions of man during all ages.  Mountains, deserts, forests and rivers have played an important part in all the actions and movements of man.  We see, for example, that the Himalayas have contributed much to shape the life of people in India at all times and ages of History.

            Besides Himalayas, the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain, the rivers of Punjab, the Ganga and Yamuna, the Thar desert in Rajasthan and the monsoon climate, have all controlled and affected the events of Indian History.  Three famous battles were fought at Panipat, because of the geographical condition of this area.  The invaders were forced to avoid the other routes to Delhi because of the presence of Thar Desert and Arvally Hills in the east and Shivalik hills in the north.  Hence Panipat became the gate-way to Delhi for invaders.

            Similarly because of the presence of the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, the Malwa plateau, the Chota Nagpur plateau and the Southern parts of India remained immune from the invaders for a long time.

            The physical features and the climatic conditions also produce a distinct influence upon the people of a region.  For instance the Scottish people are sturdy because of the hilly area and extreme climate of Scotland.  Similarly the people of Punjab are sturdy because of its extreme climate, but people living in Indo Gangetic plain are ease loving because of its moderate climate.

            Thus Geography provides a key to several problems in History and it is of great help in understanding a number of historical events.  The history of a country is influenced to a large extent by its geographical conditions.  Hence it is aptly said by Pannikar, “Geography constitutes the permanent basis of every nation’s History.  It is one of the major factors which have determined the evolution of a people.  Hence a nation can neglect Geography only at its own peril.”

            Both the internal and external policies of the government of a nation are determined by its geographical conditions and their relationship in space to other countries.  If a country is surrounded by mountains, oceans, deserts, forests, it remains isolated because of these physical features and is bound to enjoy continuity of its culture or civilization, which is basically its own.  For example, the isolation Egypt on account of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red sea, the Sahara and Sinai deserts proved very helpful in preserving its indigenous culture and civilization.  The presence of the river Nile in the desert proved to be the life-blood of people.  It has always supplied to the Egyptians not only food, but also navigation for internal trade.

            China also remained completely isolated from the rest of the world by the high Himalayan Ranges in the south, the vast Pacific Ocean in the east, the hot desert and cold desert in the west and the north.  As a result of it, the Chinese developed a culture and civilization of their own, completely independent of others.

            The geographical conditions of India also helped this country to preserve its culture and civilization to some extent.  The high Himalayan Mountains in the north, Indian Ocean in the south and dense forest in the east helped India to preserve its isolation.  But the Suleiman Range in the west, being low mountains, having many passes, could not hold back the invaders from the west and thus resulted in the influence of Islamic culture over Aryan culture and civilization in India.

            Unlike Egypt, China and Mesopotamia always remained exposed to foreign invaders because it is not protected by natural fortifications.  Its two rivers, Tigres in the east and Euphrate in the west, could prove hurdle to foreigners.  As a result of it, Mesopotamia’s civilization became a mixture of many civilizations.

            Besides all these factors, History and Geography have the following similarities:

  • In both of these subjects, there occurs the element of Time and Space.  In both we study the development of human civilization as it is related to the physical conditions of a country.
  • If we compare this earth with a stage, we can say that Geography deals with the study of the ‘stage’ while History deals with various actors who occupied the ‘stage’ at different times.
  • It is Geography which determines the historical events of a country.  For instance if Germany was defeated on the soil of Russia during the World War II, it was mainly due to the severe wintry conditions of Russia.
  • The correlation between History and Geography is best understood by the stories of geographical explorations and discoveries of great explorers, such as Columbus and Vasco-da-Gama etc.  Thus we come to the conclusion that History and Geography are linked together and there must be correlation of these to subjects in school teaching Programme.

History and Civics

            Civics deals with administrative set up of a country, its various administrative institutions, its Constitution and also with several theories of the origin of State its functions etc. and also everything related with our civil life.  Naturally, we get the information about the growth and development of all these institutions from history and also the way the rules functioned or could function under different dispensations.  History also gives an insight into the weaknesses and shortcoming of various types of administrative institutions and their strengths too.  We know through our study of history the despotism, dictatorship and monarchy tend to become very tyrannical: that when the ruler gets absolute power, then by and large, he also becomes absolutely corrupt and people suffer at his hands.  Then how the feudal system in league with the monarch or royalty exploits the subjects, is also a well known fact of history.  History tells us that capitalist system also fleeces the poor and then finally it brings home to us the fact that a Democratic set up with its weaknesses and shortcomings is much better a political dispensation than other dispensations though it is also used by the haves to meet their narrow ends.  So civics gives us an insight into various types of political set up with their merits and demerits and history by supplying the facts substantiates or refutes it.

             Besides the political theories describing different set ups – like monarchy, dictatorship, capitalism, democracy, totalitarianism etc. explain their effects on the people’s life, and history once again supplies the proof in terms of what happened under their dispensation.  History delineates or describes what actually happened.  In this way we find that civics and history are very intimately related with one another.  In short today’s administrative structures and institutions and their actions would become the history of tomorrow, whereas their history would give us a better, deeper and thorough insight into their merits and demerits and thus help us to improve upon them.  Professor Seeley, therefore, said “History without Civics has no fruit, Civics without History has not root”.

History and Sociology

            Among the social sciences, sociology is one of the youngest and the most important.  As a science it deals with man as a social being and aims at the scientific study of society.  It deals with man in his relations with his fellow beings and environment, which includes geography as well as history.  Thus it examines the origin, growth and structure of society in general and the working of general laws.  It needs history for analysis, comparison and for material on social subjects like population, education, institutions, trade unionism and the like.  History needs sociology for knowledge of the principles of social evolution and organization in its attempt to find out the causes of social change.

             The Sociologists argue that history is primarily a record of social evolution and the laws evolved by sociology are essential to reduce the chaos of history to order.  However, this is an exaggerated claim for sociology is concerned with the constant and repetitive element in human history, past and present, while history is concerned not only with the constant and repetitive elements but also the peculiar and unrepetitive elements.  If the American, French and Russian Revolutions are taken into consideration what is important for sociology are their common features and to history the peculiar elements in each of these movements.  In other words sociology is concerned with the general laws much about the present, while history with unique factors generally of the past.

History and Economics        

            History is the record of events in the past.  Past events throw a great light on the present day economic problems.  In modern times, History is generally interpreted from an economic point of view.  Many important movements arte recognized as the results of economic factors, such as French Revolution and the Russian Revolution.  Marx has laid great stress on Economics as the basis for the study of History.  He recognized the economic factors as the real causes of the downfall of Czars and Czarist regime in Russia.  According to him the Great Revolution of Russia is nothing also but an Economic Revolution.  Thus we see that many historical events have their origin in the economic condition of the people at that time.

            A majority of political problems when analysed are found to be essentially economic problems.  We have given the examples of French Revolution and the Great Revolution in Russia.  Similarly the Suez Canal issue was not political issue but in reality an economic issue.

            The economists of modern times maintain that economic necessity is the main-spring of all social conduct.  According to them both war and peace are the outcome of economic activities.  It has been widely accepted, today, that History is comprised of three main factors i.e. political, social and economic factors.  They equally contribute to unfolding the story of human life.

            History, in fact, supplies the data for the social sciences like economics and political science.  All reforms, whether social, economic or political, must not be a violent or complete break with the past, but should be carried out in accordance with the national traditions and attitudes of the people concerned as reflected in their history.  It is only through having its root in national history, that a social, economic or political reform achieves real success.

            History, to-day is considered not merely a story of kings and their wars, but a study of economic conditions of a country at different times.  Hence History is incomplete without Economics.  Economic disputes have always been at the root of all wars between various countries.  Economic factors determine the course of historical events in a country.  The economic prosperity of India had been always attracting invaders in the past and their invasions have determined the shape of the history of our country.

            History tells us how different nations, adopting different economic policies have achieved the aims of economic development.  Hence the economic policy of a country plays a great role in shaping its history.  All the developed countries of the world lay great emphasis on framing a good economic policy.  They base their present economic policies on their economic policies of the past and make them guide for future economic policies.  Thus Economics and History are closely related with each other and they should be correlated at every step of a teaching Programme.

History and Political Science

            According to Suley, “History without political science has no fruit and political science without history has no root”.  History studies the past activities of the human race.  History studies the progress of human institution, social phenomena and customs through ages and it provides full knowledge about the origin and development of social institutions.

            Political science studies the constitution, especially the present constitution of a country which cannot be understood properly unless it is related with its past development.  History has been mainly divided to the political activities, especially of kings and monarchs in the days of monarchy.  Political deeds of statesmen when democracy came into prominence.Political science is the science of citizenship.  Citizenship in the modern setup involves a good knowledge of local, national and international affairs.  This knowledge cannot be obtained without reference to History.  Every political act is an outcome of a long history behind it.


Intellectual Values

            History is wonderful treasure house of information.  It broadens the minds of student by showing them the conditions, habits and ways of thoughts of former times.  It banishes prejudices and conservatism by adding to the store of our knowledge.  That is why Robertson has said, “History is veritably a great sore house of knowledge in which the child can search at will”.  History can offer guidance for the solution to all human problems pertaining to science, art, language and literature, social and political problems, philosophical speculation and economic development.  A realistic study of these adds a new dimension to understanding the range of its understanding which begins from the ancient past and extends upto distant future.  Churchill has aptly said about it, “He is wise who can see longest into its future”.

Social Values

           Mutual respect, sensitivity to the needs of others, and willingness to help are evident in the behaviour of those who show concern for others. People living together is said to be a society. History helps the students to understand the society. The central concern of this discipline is the social relationships of mankind. It includes topics like structure and organization, the interaction of social groups.

Moral Values

            History is a very useful subject for school curriculum on the ground that it teachers us morality.  Bolingbroke considers History a philosophy, which teaches by examples.  Feith says, “History is a kind of knowledge which is useful to men in daily life as it gives us, by examples from past times, such wisdom as may guide our desires and actions”.  History teaches the ethical laws of right and wrong.  It tells the students moral laws of good conduct by giving examples of by-gone persons.  A variety of moral situations are presented by History and if a teacher makes a good use of them, he will have limitless possibilities of shaping the moral judgment of his pupils.

Disciplinary Values

            History gives a great mental training.  The student receives a great mental training in examining the data, comparing and contrasting the given facts and arriving at conclusions.  He also gets great mental training in weighing evidence and connecting the causes and effects of various events.

Cultural Values

            History is an effective instrument of civilizing the human kind.  History shows the students a great number of differing societies.  It familiarizes them with great variations in social terms and cultures of various centuries.  History also enables the students to understand their present culture.  It explains the origin of our culture, customs, usages and institutions.  It tells us that our present day culture has evolved as a result of effects emerging from ancient cultures.

Political values

                History also helps in the politics of our country. History is said to be past politics. T.R.Seely says, “The historian is a politician of the political group or organism the state being his study. To lecture on political science into lecture on history”. It stand as a beacon of hope when some nation is overcast with murky cloudes. History is a great teacher which demands no fees for its lessons. We may avoid or disobey is at our own peril. History supplements the political and social sciences by development of these phenomena in time.

Nationalistic and Internationalistic values

                The use of history is unchallengeable in inculcating into the child’s mind a love for his country. History teaching renders and effective service in imbibing the young minds with a sense of patriotism. By reading about the patriotic deeds of great lives like Shivaji, Rani Jhansi, Bhagat Singh, Gandhiji etc, the child can easily be inspired to emulate them. A proper teaching of history can prepare the way for sober nationalism avoiding narrow patriotism.

Practical Values

  • Create good citizenships
  • Understanding present skills
  • More job opportunities
  • Develops social character
  • Better  choice of career