Causes and Consequences in American History Essay

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.....eras are too complex to reduce to a simple set of proximal causes and immediate effects. The main reason why historians disagree on critical issues like the causes of the American Civil War or the causes of the Great Depression is that there is no one cause or even one simple set of causes. It depends on point of view, theoretical viewpoint, and a host of issues related to the intersection between different causes. Historical knowledge also evolves as new facts emerge and new theories come to light. For example, Tyrrell argues that the United States was more connected to the global economy during the Antebellum years than historians have typically given the country credit for, and that these international commercial activities are linked to some of the economic underpinnings of the war. History is systemic; the Pax Brittannica might not seem to have any relevance for antebellum America but it did through British foreign policy, prosperity, and trade agreements that stimulated interest in the cash crops that depended on slave labor. Sometimes these kinds of connections are intuited or hinted at for years by historians and then eventually become phrased or presented in new and clearer ways. Especially when teaching students about complex events and eras in history like the causes of the Civil War, it becomes critical to avoid reductionism.

Stuck Writing Your "Causes and Consequences in American History" Essay?

Not only do educators need to show how historians reach their conclusions or postulate about causes, but they also need to demonstrate the consequences of flawed historical thinking.

When it comes to why historians remain perennially concerned about causes and consequences, it almost seems too obvious. History is in part a study of human nature, and enables modern readers of history to apply historical lessons to current events and circumstances. It is not as if people are good at learning from the past, so much as it is a worthwhile endeavor to understand what happened, and to glean a big picture understanding. History would seem useless without postulating on causes and consequences, because the endeavor of history is to understand the systems -- the interrelatedness of culture, technology, leadership, social structure, the economy, and geography. Without understanding the ways these systems work, history becomes meaningless. It is important to understand the systemic nature of history both to grasp causes and consequences.

The ways events are recorded can be problematic, leading to serious….....

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Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness (n.d.). Cause and consequence. Retrieved online:

Tyrrell, Ian. "Commerce Pervades the World." In Transnational Nation. London: Palgrave, 2007.

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