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"A Battle in Quaker Pennsylvania: Reading a Document of " Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Mar 2018 10:25 a.m. PST

…. of the French and Indian War

"Coming across a primary document when you're doing research in history is like taking a time machine back to the instant that a significant event took place. Finally, instead of just hearing about how a particular figure felt, or reading an account that only sums up what happened without going into the details, you hold in your hands the truth. The real words, as they were written, sometimes even in the original handwriting of the person who first came up with the notions that have been passed down to us as accepted history today.

But is it the whole truth? Sometimes it's easy to forget that our ancestors were no more all-knowing that we are; they didn't always have all the facts for themselves when they wrote the documents that have become their paper trail for us today. Reading a primary document can be a tricky business-to fully understand what the author felt, or the true meaning of the positions he or she may have taken, it's necessary to place the document in context. What major events had just taken place at the time it was written? What political or moral beliefs led the author to his stance? Are the views or the account she has recorded pure fact, or are they colored by prejudices or propaganda that may be difficult to catch from our modern perspective…"
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