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8 Pages

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1000
Terry Conlin

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The way we live can be divided into three phases of time, in which they are periodically ordered as the (past, present, and future). These phases are subsequently staged in this way because the events from before will lead us to an unpredictable future. But it is said that the first phase “past”, is a tense that is proclaimed to be a subject of history. Well, what is history? History can be defined as the interpretations of the events that occurred in the past, whether by one individual or a whole sum of societies. To better grasp the topic, it can be said that history derives from the past. Yet, in our daily lifestyles, we learn new establishments from our successors that make a stint in history. However, does that mean the people who have been known to make “history”, have no significance or outcome for today’s society? The future? I believe that those who have power and whom have been credited for success from written history, are the ones who have the “say” and hold the authority to manipulate the details of the truth. In such, we refer to historians as our role models for the present society. In this essay, I will argue along side George Orwell’s quote that goes by “Who controls the past controls the future. And who controls the present controls the past” (Zinn, 789) in which he claims that history is written in this way by those who are dominant. I will support my arguments with the patriotic story of Columbus, the definition of mythistory, and the lastly the ideas of liberalism; in connection with the readings from Zinn, McNeil and Marchak. The quote by George Orwell was written in the beginning of the contexts from Howard Zinn, where he wrote about the indigenous story of the presumed 1 great explorer “Christopher Columbus” and the western civilization. To many, Christopher Columbus was seen as a patriotic hero who set sail in the seas with his crew and discovered America. The people who lived in America welcomed Columbus and his men in a huge affair; thus, these were the people Columbus identified as “Indians”. However, Zinn tells us the story of the exploitation of native Indians from the perspectives of Spaniards, who were present at the time, and journal contexts written by Columbus himself along with the views of the aboriginals. According to today’s history, Columbus’s epic discovery of America has earned him and the rest of us, a day to celebrate in the form of “Columbus Day”. A day every once a year, we celebrate the foundation of this country with Christopher’s discovery and honor his voyage. But the real question is, after reading Zinn’s context, but where is the truth of Columbus’s exploitation of the natives today? Students in present day educational systems are raised with the ideology that Columbus is a national “hero” due to the fact that he has a holiday named after him. However, the truth of the Columbus’s story is not revealed because teachers promote the ideology and are convinced that children are too young to be aware of the cruelty and horrors of it. So this relates back to Orwell’s quote “…. who controls the present controls the past” as it is in their power to portray the past in deceptive terms. They have been overcome by a “dominant ideology”. Even when I was a child, I was influenced in the learning of how the discovery of Canada and on how it came to be. However, I was only told of the partial truth to great explorer and never was I told the details of exploitation, violence against 2 innocent people, slavery and cruelties that Columbus and his men omitted in their conquest. What this really signifies on the whole is that the past, “Columbus and western civilization” have been seen as a dominant ideology that is traditionalized to the future. Thus, this led precursors with the “earned” right to literate history as per to their say. I can justify myself with a quote used by George Bush upon presidential nomination “ This had been called the American Century because in it we were the dominant force for good in the world… Now we are the verge of a new century, and what country’s name will it beat? I say it will be another American Century”. (Zinn, 94) This dictates that ideology from the past is controlled and is lead into the future. In the sense that, since they have dominated in the “past”, they will also do the same in the future as it is laid out for them with the support of history. We can come to a strong assumption that history is written mainly upon the success of an individual or colony. Thus, excluding the failures and cruelty that led to is; this is repeated throughout our lifetime and therefore is reframing Orwell’s quote to be true. As our generation grows, it seems we become more adaptive to those who were in charge from precedents of history. We are so influenced and reliant of the opinions led by the present, that the actual fluctuations of past events have been shadowed from us. What I mean by this is that anything we set to mark out in the present will be followed onto our future. Very much like Columbus and his discovery. It has been set in a way in which our makings in today society will have relevance in the future. This makes Orwell’s quote true in the sense 3 that ideology is dominated by the society of its era. Then, it passed on to the generations after us, which is how history was always written; thus, even today this way of interpreting history is practiced. To further emphasize Orwell’s quote, the topic of “mythistory” proposed in McNeill’s readings also supports his statement. McNeil claims that mythology and history are associated with one another, in his opening quote “Myth and history is close kin inasmuch as both explain how things got to be the way they are telling some sort of story” (McNeill, 3). However it is safe to say that history tells us the story of the “past”, which can also be argued that myths also act the same way. But very much like the story of Columbus, history and myths (mythistory) were written by a dominant ideology. The reason for this is that, according to McNeil, historians have collected
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