What is History, What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
Science that studies and studies what happened in the past. It is derived from the Greek phrase gistorein, meaning to know. It is defined as the events that take place in the temporal flow. The term means the science of history. In a sense, a date is an idiom describing the day, month and year of an event.
History gained a scientific quality in the 19th century with the teaching of historical materialism. It is proved by this doctrine that history is a natural-legal process. Before the doctrine of historical and dialectical materialism, history was viewed as a series of events either governed by supernatural forces or fashioned by great people randomly and according to their liking. However, historians have emerged who sense that history is a natural process. Among these are the French historians of the 1830-1840 restoration period such as A. Thierry, F. Guzot, F. Mignet, especially the Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun. However, none of them got to the root of the problem and had to be content with superficial observations on an idealist level. A wholly idealist view of history dominates the science of history before historical and dialectical materialism. For example, Hegel, with the direction of a universal consciousness superior to human consciousness; Left Hegelians explain history with the guidance of leading people. According to the contemporary British historian Toynbee, “history is the realization of a divine plan”.
In fact, history is a process of natural and social development. Social history, unlike natural history, is made by people. However, the people who make history are not the leaders, as suggested in the idealist understanding of history, but the masses of people engaged in production activities. “We must begin by asserting the first fundamental condition of history, that is, the condition that people must live in order to make history. First of all, life consists of eating, drinking, dressing, sheltering etc. means. The first historical action, then, is the production of the means to satisfy these needs, i.e., material life itself. This is a historical act that must be performed every hour of every day in order to sustain human life, as it was thousands of years ago, it is the fundamental fact of all history… It means that from the very beginning people are in a material connection with each other and this connection is based on people’s needs and production. It is a fact that they are determined by their styles and are as old as people. This connection, constantly taking new forms, reveals a history free from all kinds of political and religious nonsense… Until now, this real basis of history has either not been taken into account or has been considered a matter that does not concern the development of history. That is why history has always been written according to a criterion other than itself. On the other hand, anything that is truly historical has been pushed out of history. For this reason, only the political actions of princes and states, religious or other theoretical fights could be seen in history. In fact, the source of all work in history is the contradiction between the forces of production and the relations of production. History is “nothing but human activity trying to achieve its own ends”.
People make history, but as it turns out, they can’t do it according to their own pleasure. People are determined by the forces of production and relations of production. The forces of production and relations of production were prepared by previous generations. People are not born in an environment they want, but in such a necessary environment. They have to obey the laws of the environment in which they open their eyes that existed before them. That is why human history, although made by humans, is a legal and, in other words, an objective process. But people, by their purposeful activities, can influence and change this objective process independent of them. Then the existing environment is transformed into a new environment and existing objective laws. The history of humanity is the history of change and transformation of socio-economic formations.