- History is about change over time. Nothing is stagnant, everything changes. Sometimes change moves as slowly as a glacier, other times change seemingly occurs overnight. Historians explore change, attempt to understand the agents of change, and explain why and how change occurs. In this exercise, you will learn how to recognize and discuss change over time. First, following the pattern in the first folder, you will complete a worksheet. Second, you will write an essay addressing a prompt about change over time.One other concept you need to be aware of is anachronism – something out of its proper time. A good example would be saying that a colonist in Virginia in 1650 telephoned a cousin in England. Or this:These two examples are obviously anachronistic. But it is also important to keep modern standards (equal rights for women, as an example) out of an analysis of events one or two hundred years ago. It is perfectly acceptable to note that women did not have the right to vote for much of this nation’s history in an essay about women in the early 1830s. This is an historical fact and could be an important analytical factor (“women reformers in the 1800s realized that without the vote it was difficult to hold public officials accountable for lack of action”). But you cannot make the argument that all women were oppressed in the 1830s because they did not have equal rights to men – first of all, I can always think of exceptions to broad, blanket statements like this and second, is this what women in the 1830s believed? It is much more nuanced, some did, some didn’t – some enjoyed new social freedoms, others believed that political and legal equality were needed.So what to do? Unless the prompt asks about “today” don’t include comments about the present in your analysis. If you are analyzing women reformers in the 1830s, look at them in the context of their own time. Note that women reformers in the 1840s have evolved in tactics and targets of reform as well (change over time). Be sure to define your era when making your argument and be sure to account for changes over time and explain why these changes happened.
1:) Who were the key political reformers of the 1880s-1890s?
2:) What types of reforms did they want?
3:)Who are the political reformers of the first two decades of the 20th century?
4:)What sort of reforms did they want?
5:) Compare your answers for questions 1 and 3 and 2 and 4. How did political reform movements change over time? Why did this change occur?