Zitate von James Harvey Robinson

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James Harvey Robinson

Geburtstag: 29. Juni 1863
Todesdatum: 16. Februar 1936

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James Harvey Robinson war ein US-amerikanischer Historiker, einige Jahre Präsident des US-Historiker-Verbands sowie Gründungsrektor der New Yorker "The New School"-Universität.

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Zitate James Harvey Robinson

„The truth that no abrupt change has ever taken place in all the customs of a people, and that it cannot, in the nature of things, take place, is perhaps the most fundamental lesson that history teaches.
Historians sometimes seem to forget this principle, when they claim to begin and end their books at precise dates.“

—  James Harvey Robinson
Context: !-- The French Revolution, at the end of the eighteenth century, was probably the most abrupt and thoroughgoing change in the habits of a nation of which we have any record. But we shall find, when we come to study it, that it was by no means so sudden in reality as is ordinarily supposed. Moreover, the innovators did not even succeed in permanently altering the form of government; for when the French, after living under a monarchy for many centuries, set up a republic in 1792, the new government lasted only a few years. The nation was monarchical by habit and soon gladly accepted the rule of Napoleon, which was more despotic than that of any of its former kings. In reorganizing the state he borrowed much from the discarded monarchy, and the present French republic still retains many of these arrangements. --> This tendency of mankind to do, in general, this year what it did last, in spite of changes in some one department of life, — such as substituting a president for a king, traveling by rail instead of on horseback, or getting the news from a newspaper instead of from a neighbor, — results in what is called the unity or continuity of history. The truth that no abrupt change has ever taken place in all the customs of a people, and that it cannot, in the nature of things, take place, is perhaps the most fundamental lesson that history teaches. Historians sometimes seem to forget this principle, when they claim to begin and end their books at precise dates. Ch. 1 : The Historical Point of View, p. 4

„It gives one something of a shock, indeed, to consider what a very small part of our guiding convictions are in any way connected with our personal experience.“

—  James Harvey Robinson
Context: It gives one something of a shock, indeed, to consider what a very small part of our guiding convictions are in any way connected with our personal experience. The date of our own birth is quite as strictly historical a fact as that of Artaphernes or of Innocent III; we are forced to a helpless reliance upon the evidence of others for both events. So it comes about that our personal recollections insensibly merge into history in the ordinary sense of the word. History, from this point of view, may be regarded as an artificial extension and broadening of our memories and may be used to overcome the natural bewilderment of all unfamiliar situations. Could we suddenly be endowed with a Godlike and exhaustive knowledge of the whole history of mankind, far more complete than the combined knowledge of all the histories ever written, we should gain forthwith a Godlike appreciation of the world in which we live, and a Godlike insight into the evils which mankind now suffers, as well as into the most promising methods for alleviating them, not because the past would furnish precedents of conduct, but because our conduct would be based upon a perfect comprehension of existing conditions founded upon a perfect knowledge of the past. Ch. 1 : The New History, p. 20

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„It is a poor technic when attempting to convert one's neighbor to attack his beliefs directly, especially those of the sacred variety.“

—  James Harvey Robinson
Context: It is a poor technic when attempting to convert one's neighbor to attack his beliefs directly, especially those of the sacred variety. We may flatter ourselves that we are undermining them by our potent reasoning only to find that we have shored them up so that they are firmer than ever. Often history will work where nothing else will. It very gently modifies one's attitude. Refutations are weak compared with its mild but potent operation. To become historically-minded is to be grown-up. Ch. 1

„To become historically-minded is to be grown-up.“

—  James Harvey Robinson
Context: It is a poor technic when attempting to convert one's neighbor to attack his beliefs directly, especially those of the sacred variety. We may flatter ourselves that we are undermining them by our potent reasoning only to find that we have shored them up so that they are firmer than ever. Often history will work where nothing else will. It very gently modifies one's attitude. Refutations are weak compared with its mild but potent operation. To become historically-minded is to be grown-up. Ch. 1

„In its amplest meaning history includes every trace and vestige of everything that man has done or thought since first he appeared on the earth.“

—  James Harvey Robinson
Context: In its amplest meaning history includes every trace and vestige of everything that man has done or thought since first he appeared on the earth. It may aspire to follow the fate of nations or it may depict the habits and emotions of the most obscure individual. Its sources of information extend from the rude flint hatchets of Chelles to this morning's newspaper. It is the vague and comprehensive science of past human affairs. Ch. 1 : The New History, p. 1

„It is impossible to divide the past into distinct, clearly defined periods and prove that one age ended and another began in a particular year, such as 476, or 1453, or 1789.“

—  James Harvey Robinson
Context: It is impossible to divide the past into distinct, clearly defined periods and prove that one age ended and another began in a particular year, such as 476, or 1453, or 1789. Men do not and cannot change their habits and ways of doing things all at once, no matter what happens. <!-- It is true that a single event, such as an important battle which results in the loss of a nation's independence, may produce an abrupt change in the government. This in turn may encourage or discourage commerce and industry and modify the language and the spirit of a people. Yet these deeper changes take place only very gradually. After a battle or a revolution the farmer will sow and reap in his old way, the artisan will take up his familiar tasks, and the merchant his baying and selling. The scholar will study and write and the household go on under the new government just as they did under the old. So a change in government affects the habits of a people but slowly in any case, and it may leave them quite unaltered. Ch. 1 : The Historical Point of View, p. 3

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