… Some say Ukrainians lost the ideological battle when they quit the traditional Rus name because the whole world knew the Old Rus state and this mixed old Ukrainian history with the Russian background.
The new word to define the nationality had always made the Ukrainian elite uncomfortable, hence the reluctance of some Ukrainian historians to use old-Ukrainian rather than old-Rus, or Ukraine-Rus rather than Kyiv Rus; which was more of a tribute to the Russian interpretation of history. Both latter terms are artificial, yet the first one sounds more familiar due to soviet history, while the second one was forgotten after the empire banned teaching Ukrainian history from the Ukrainian perspective. By contrast, the French or Germans have never been embarrassed to refer to their Gaulish or Frankish background, as old French or old German history is respectively known.
Notably, the original war between Ukrainian and Russian intellectuals for a historical memory in the 19th century was the battle for independence of the so-called Kyiv Rus heritage. Its winner got the legitimate right in the eyes of the educated part of society to stake their claim over Ukrainian terrain. …
“Independence or Death!" Declaration of Brazil’s independence by Prince Pedro on 7 September 1822. His Guard of Honor greets him in support while some discard blue and white armbands that represented loyalty to Portugal.
Friends, the Portuguese Cortes wished to enslave and persecute us. As of today our bonds are ended. By my blood, by my honor, by my God, I swear to bring about the independence of Brazil. Brazilians, let our watchword from this day forth be ‘Independence or Death!’
— Pedro I, declaring the independence of Brazil from Portugal.
And his father said something like “Better an independent Brazil under you, who respect me, than under those rebels!”
The Trans-Asian rail network which will connect Asia with Europe.
Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats- his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.
These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption. The home power tools and the whole “do-it-yourself” movement are excellent examples of “expensive” consumption.
— Victor Lebow, 1955
Believe me, it’s worth to see it.
I’d say you’re right - events happen, and when something happens it must be, by necessity of its existence, bound by facts. The point of such a statement, however, is to prepare the reader for the realities of historical study. We can never verify that what we investigate is a factual certainty in the way a scientist could make certain statements about his own experiments. We were not there. If I could say just one thing to someone starting out in the study of history, it would be ‘forget the facts. Forget what you think you know. Go back to the source material. Pretend no one else has ever drawn any conclusions about the events you are studying. From that you can reach your own determinations as to what happened.’ It would be wrong to say you’d reached your ‘own facts’ because facts, as you say, are certain and solid. But in the study of something that can never be certain or solid because it can never be experienced, it is as close as we can probably get. Basically, prove the facts for yourself, don’t rely on what others have written since the original source material.
History is a fact…
depends a bit right?
I mean there are facts we know happened but I think that what we have is not what happened. We don’t have access to concrete reality: we have access to a construction of reality. We weren’t there, we didn’t see it, so we rely on sources to devise events, timelines etc. So we don’t really know what happened we know what a collection of sources, be it written or archeological tell us. All history is a construction, I think. It’s a fictionalized truth (very Hayden White this one). I disagree with the idea that “facts” are History. Facts are a part of History but most of the times, what really matters is the meaning we give to them. We know that Columbus reached the Americas, the name of the ships, where he went to. We know that Charles I was executed by the Parliament. But everything we say is an interpretation, a judgement. Even to say, “Charles I was executed because…” is already giving a cause for something. This cause is mainly - hopefully - supported in a collection of sources but there will come someone who says “but I don’t think cause A was very important, cause B was the decisive factor.” Even apparently simple events will have a multitude of causes, and more than that, a multitude of consequences that might have been unforeseen at the time of the event, but the historian knows that it had an impact of something originally not expected. But isn’t this connection of ideas, these connections that historians must establish a construction?
History is not mainly the facts, it’s what we make of them.
Thank you for putting what I was desperately grasping at so much more eloquently. History is what you make of it.
Thanks for the answer. I tend to be very rational, factual, and even philosophical; thus I tend to see a lot of words as ‘absolute concepts’, as I said in the ask. Ultimately we would be discussing things that can’t be discussed: I see history as facts, you see history as what we can acknowledge by the facts we are shown, and we are both correct, it is about the meaning that we give to the word History. I can’t explain this clearly, I hope you understand.