Coursework in Western History Supposed to Focus on the “Old West”
Western history is the history of Europe as a whole and the world as a whole. It covers the last couple thousand years up to the present period. This type of history is most commonly known as the “Christian” era, and it is this period in history that has earned the title “the western civilization”.
Western civilization traces its origins back to the Mediterranean and Europe. It is, however, heavily influenced by ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and even with Medieval Christendom that emerged in the Middle Ages from the Dark Ages. During this period, there were the earliest human civilizations, including the Hebrews, the Romans, and the Greeks, who founded the most powerful nations on the face of the earth.
This is one reason why historians are not in the mood to accept changes in the Western history timeline. In this regard, many historians, most especially those who work for the publishing companies have been fixated on changes that occurred in the Western history as compared to the Eastern history timeline. The result has been a dispute as to which history contains the most important and the most influential elements. For most Western historians, the end result has been a compromise between Eastern and Western history, or between Western and Oriental history.
There are three different perspectives on the question of which western civilization is the best. Historians who emphasize the concepts of universal values, such as democracy and human rights, do not consider the European civilization to be superior to all other cultures. They see the rise of the west as the greatest manifestation of human rights throughout the history of the world. Historians who focus more on how power and influence changed the cultures within individual countries also choose to focus on the concept of western history.
In this particular perspective, the United States, Canada and Britain are thought to be the incarnation of the “Wild West.” The term “The Wild West” itself is problematic, because it suggests an entire period prior to the founding of the US, when people living in the US were more likely to be outlaws than pioneers. This viewpoint also fails to acknowledge the impact of immigrants from the UK into the US, and of the British into Canada. It also fails to recognize that there were significant demographic changes during the middle ages that affected the populations of these countries, causing some ethnic tensions and struggles. Finally, this version of western history also tends to ignore the role of the east in the development of modern civilization, as opposed to seeing the west as the exclusive beneficiary. Most Canadian historians, for example, will deny that the Canadian nation was founded by any ethno-religious group, and the claim that it was founded by the ancient peoples who practiced Pictish astrology is, to this day, highly controversial.
An examination of the way in which the American school history courses have been developed over the last century indicates that the school has been very anxious to retain the image of the west as the progressive force in world affairs. As a result, there is little effort being made to develop courses that would help individuals to understand and appreciate the other parts of the world. The development of courses such as this one provides little assistance in this regard and tends rather to downplay the importance of the other aspects of western civilization. These courses tend to promote a monolithic vision of the west as the sole beneficiary of western civilization, and this monolithic perspective is quite dangerous. No reasonable person can honestly believe that all aspects of the world, including ancient India, pre-historic India, China, ancient Greece and Rome, were created equal. There is certainly much that can teach us about these other ancient civilizations, but none of them can be viewed as representative of the West in the modern sense of the word.