Political history is the description and analysis of significant political occasions, movements, thoughts, and leaders. Typically it is developed around the nation states. It is distinguished from but relevant to other areas of history such as economic history, social history, and military history.
Usually, political history discusses events pertaining to nation-states and the political process in particular. As per Hegelian doctrine, Political History ‘is a perception of the state with a guiding force beyond the material benefits of its subjects: it meant that the state was the root factor of historical change’. This differs with one, for example, social history, which predominantly discusses the events and lifestyles of common folks, or people’s history, that is historical account from the view point of a lay person.
Different views of political history
In the 19th century, the pioneering work on ‘scientific’ political history was composed by Leopold von Ranke in Germany. The methodologies he laid down greatly influenced the way historians critically scrutinize sources. A significant aspect of political history is enunciated by the study of ideology as a prerequisite for historical change. A writer went to the extent of commenting: ‘political history in its entirety cannot work in the absence of the study of ideological disparities and their entailment.’
A study of political history typically centers on a single nation and its political change and aggrandizement. A few historians highlight the ever increasing drift toward confined specialization in political history over the course of recent decades: ‘wherein a college professor in the 1940s resorted to identify himself as a “historian”, by the 1950s “American historian” was the designation.’
From 1970s and onward, new movements tended to question conventional theories to political history. The emergence of social history and woman’s history moved the emphasis away from focusing on leaders and national resolutions; perhaps more towards the space occasioned by common nationals; ‘…since the 1970s “the new social history” came to replace the older style. Emphasis drifted to a wider medium of life, including such issues as the neo-urbanization, ethnicity, the media, public health, and poverty.”
Political history is, therefore, sometimes considered as more ‘traditional’ type of history, contrasting with so called more up-to-date approaches of other areas of history.
Political history of the world
The political world history is the history of the different political bodies formed by the Human race over the course of their existence on Earth and on how these states demarcate their borders. The history of political thinking traces its origins in antiquity. Political history or the history of political thinking during human existence entails Medieval period and the Renaissance.
The Age of Enlightenment witnessed political institutions swelling from fundamental systems of monarchy and self-governance to the diverse democratic and communist systems that flourished in present Industrialied and the Modernized Era, in contrast, political systems have expanded from diffused frontier-type boundaries, to the fixed boundaries existing as of today.