because history just ain't what it used to be

Opinion: History is Made by ‘The People’

In Opinion on February 22, 2010 at 21:32

by Mackenzie Rayburn and Elise Adamson

History is created by ‘the people’.

History is the events of the past. The people are a group of individuals and they are what create history. The people elect leaders and what the leaders do is what makes up history. It takes a group of people for events to occur. Not many things occur with just one person.

Individuals and the People make up history. The difference between the two is that individuals are recognized in history while the People are not. Alfred de Vigny says “History is a novel for which the people are the author” ( The names in history are usually leaders and those in power. The question is, what power do those leaders have without the people under them?

Alexander the Great would not seem so great if he had been by himself up against 240,000 Persians. It was not Charlemagne alone who conquered other kingdoms, but also the men who fought alongside him that made Charlemagne’s dream a reality. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the faces of the protests for African American civil rights; King was marching, protesting, and boycotting with other people at his side; he didn’t change history alone.

People elect leaders who create history. This is a mark in history that people create. For example, a group of U.S citizens elected Obama for president; this is a part of history and that history was created by a group of people. Although history may be about one person, the history was created by a group of people.

For laws to be, they have to be passed by people first. That makes creating a law a group effort. All the people had to work together to create this. As the quote “There is no I in team” suggests, there is not one person who is the leader. It takes a group of people for things to occur.

Inventors may think of the idea on their own but they are going to use other people’s help throughout the way. They may also use other people’s ideas.  No one person can make history. One person may make one event, but all the events that occur will make up history. That is pulling together.

History is created by the people, not by individuals; it takes a group effort for things to happen. Every person who has done something important in history has used the help of others. Not one person can do it all.

  1. Mackenzie and Elise,

    Well said–very Howard Zinn of you to think of the history of the world as created by the very people that live it.

    Best of luck on this endeavor in Western civ. I have found that writing for an audience of sometimes thousands, but other times tens, has truly transformed the way I think and write. I hope you both have that same experience.

  2. I agree with PJ Higgins. Good luck in this endeavor. Sometimes you’ll be read by hundreds, and sometimes by no one. You’ll have more luck if you search for other blogs on related subjects, and read, and comment, and read and comment some more. Don’t get stuck on your one page — branch out, find new authors and challenge yourself a little.

    It’s been remarked that history is written by the winners, and Charlemagne certainly had that going for him. Alcuin of York, and a host of other prominent churchmen built a network of schools for him, to train a generation of clerks and clerics and teachers and administrators for his empire. Among them was likely Einhard, who wrote the biography of Charlemagne, a rather admiring view of a world leader. Einhard’s biography is short, and you can read most of it on a rainy afternoon; it’s also not particularly difficult.

    It’s also a rarity. One of the great difficulties of your viewpoint is that the vast majority of people before the twentieth century lived unrecorded lives. Einhard (for Charlemagne) and Arrian (for Alexander the Great) open windows into the lives of people who would be non-existent without a biographer or a chronicler, and no amount of wishing for more sources and more data will alter that fact.

    Apart from some saints and kings, we know relatively little about Medieval people; Alexander’s life wasn’t recorded until a few hundred years after his death by men working from sketchy records of a time when armies marched from the Mediterranean to India on foot. The wonder, and the horror, of that achievement should not be forgotten — but neither should the fact that they marched at the behest of a man many revered as the son of a god. They certainly thought quite differently than we do today, about a good many things.

  3. Great Job! I agree with you! Your argument was very strong and I liked your use of the quote from Alfred de Vigny.

  4. Interesting position to take girls! You made a lot of good points. Keep up the good work.

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