Historical Background in The World Of Archival and Oral Research

By: Charles E. Lancaster

In the history world, the term historical background is becoming an ideal to capture an image of people’s behavior and speech. The historical background is very crucial for people to understand how people of that era could have a response to the issues of that period. The unique dialogue between a commoner and head authority would explain the colonial behavior mindset.

This colonial behavior mindset would explain what the exchange of ideas could probably mean in our time of antiquity. For example, in a book called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Twain explains how the city of St. Petersburg captures the historical image of Hannibal, Missouri to the teeth in the Pre-Civil War period.

Twain was an American writer of the 19th Century that displays the racial atmosphere along the Mississippi River Valley. Twain could have used a common town that everyone in Pre-Civil War America has heard, but he decided to use his own environment as a perfect model to form the fictional town of St. Petersburg with the historical background of Hannibal, Missouri as the foundation.

Another example of historical background is China’s history. In a magazine called Ducksters, there was an article that begins to talk about the historical background of China. The antique background of China started to go into deep detail of how China was mostly ruled by powerful families called dynasties. The Chinese historical background displays how the very first dynasty to control China was the Shang and the last dynasty to rule China would be the Qing which later unified the whole nation of China.

The two main methods of researching historical background are archival and oral. Archival and oral are clear types of researching that create the historical background for people to understand. I will begin to explain how archival researching plays a key component in the world of historical background.

Archival research is a type of primary study that involves finding out and mining evidence from original archival chronicles. Archival research is usually the first step of creating the historical background foundation. Archival research could lead a researcher/student to credible repositories that carry documents that are delicate to handle.

Archival research uncovers written records that relate to a specific period of history. Archival research is more complex and time-consuming which present challenges to identify, locate, and interpret. An example of Archival research is the Tea Act of 1773. The Tea Act of 1773 was a law to reduce the surplus of tea being held by the British East India Company. The Tea Act of 1773 was a British decree that spread throughout the English colonies.

Even though most people relied on archival research as the main foundation for historical background, there are some people who prefer to back up their archival research with oral research to complete the whole picture of that historical background. Oral research is another style that gathers information of historical background but through the words of historical figures.

Oral research is a collection information about individuals, families, important events, etc. Oral research strives to obtain information from different perspectives which cannot be found in written sources. It could include stories of people who lived in that historical background during that time.

Oral research may include people’s traditions that were not included in the archival research. An example of this would be the African folklore. There is one folklore that reminded the slaves of America what would happen if you insult the lion which is called Signifying Monkey. The Signifying Monkey is a character who insulted the lion to a point where the Lion removes the manhood of the monkey at the end of the story.

Thus, the historical background is slowly becoming a strong idea that convinces the interest of people outside that historic period. The unique story from an African folklore about a monkey who pushes the button of the lion too far. Where people can begin an archival research of how that specific African-American folklore is important to explain the historical background of slavery in the United States before the Civil War.

Related posts

Leave a Comment