History Resources

Since Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide web in 1993, millions of websites have been created, and a substantial number of them have been devoted to history. For a number of years many of the sites were unreliable. Historians were skeptical of the validity and reliability of online sites and often steered students away from them. For a while one very fine college banned the use of Wikipedia for students for reasons that seem strange today. With regard to American history, which is what I have been teaching for over 40 years, I think it's safe to say that the World Wide Web is now an American history textbook. You can find almost anything you want regarding American history, from graphical presentations, two documents, two narratives, bibliographies, biographies and everything else one could want in the study of our nation's past.

Does that mean that everything on there is good sound history? Not at all. There are websites that represent points of view for most historians would reject out of hand. On the other hand, there are books available in public and even university libraries the present points of view that many might consider suspect. During the 1960s many books appeared that were known as revisionist histories, books that sought to correct what their authors perceived to be errors in the presentation of American past. They had a point; much of American history taught when I was in school failed to recognize many of the less pleasant aspects of American history. But then, sometime perhaps in the 1970s, articles began to appear with titles like "Revisionists in Need of Revising." Some of the corrections perhaps want too far.

I believe that most of the excesses of corrected themselves in terms of what we might call mainstream history. The histories written by some of our finest historians in the last decade and a half have been superb, and may have addressed issues that in the past might well it been ignored, things such as violation of civil rights in time of war, racial discrimination that was overlooked in the past, the omission of the contributions of minorities, including women, and judging the evolution of American society. That is not to say that the biased or even distorted points of view don't exist; they do. One must still use caution when studying history on the web. But the good history is there, and of it's not all there, there is certainly enough fine material available online to satisfy all but the most demanding researchers. Was provided in this part of the website is just a sampling of what's available.

Resources For History Students of All Ages

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Sage History Home | Resources | Updated December 4, 2022