This traditional definition is broad enough to compass the study as it is known by most people. Notice how it states that history is a “chronological record” and how “events” are emphasized in each sub-definition. Assuming this, history is grounded in the arrangement and explanation of events in the order in which they occur; that is chronology at its root. At its best, timelines can make excellent visual aids. At its worst, history becomes a field of study that one must endure endless memorization of places, figures, and dates. 


History isn’t all memorization; the fact that Webster’s definition mentions “an explanation of their [the events] causes” shows that there are additional levels such as comprehension and analysis. However, there remains the problem of comprehending the scale of history, especially when given an arrangement of events on a timeline. For instance, one person’s decision to measure a year or a century as ten centimeters on a line is certainly not another’s.



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