Download The 3 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS of World History

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How has the changing relationship between
human beings and the physical and natural
environment affected human life from early
times to the present?
Human beings are inhabitants of the
biosphere and their history is inseparable
from it.
This is as true today as it was 200,000 years
Understanding our changing relationship with
the environment is, therefore, at the core of
historical understanding. It involves grappling
with questions of how humans have lived, how
they have treated the earth, and how their
power over the earth has grown.
Understanding the changing relationship
between humans and the environment in the
world's past may be a first step towards finding a
less damaging relationship in the future.
Why have relations among humans become so
complex since early times? We live in a world of
intense, complicated, and diverse relationships
among billions of people.
 Throughout most of its history our species has
lived in small, scattered communities of foragers
and hunters.
 Questions about the ways in which humans have
multiplied on the earth and come to relate to
one another in such a variety of ways are
fundamental to historical investigation.
How have humans treated each other within families,
in times of war, in politics, and in commerce have
been the meat and drink of historical scholarship. So
have relationships between slaves and their masters,
rulers and their subjects, men and women, one ethnic
group and another.
 But world history tries to ask these questions about all
humans. How did humans in one part of the world
affect humans in very different parts of the world,
through exchanges of goods, diseases, or religious
ideas and technologies? By raising such questions,
world history studies wrestles with the entire range of
relationships of which humans are capable.
How have human views of the world, nature,
and the cosmos changed?
 History is not only the study of "what happened"
but also about the ways in which humans have
thought about, questioned, interpreted, and
represented (in words, pictures, movies, and so
on) what their senses tell them about the world
and the universe.
 Ideas influence historical developments and,
conversely, events shape ideas as humans strive
to make sense of change.
Some of the most powerful ideas in human
history have been about techniques for living.
New technological ideas from the invention
of the wheel to the nuclear bomb can
transform how millions of people live.
Indeed, the way technological ideas have
accumulated over time and the effects they
have had on society is one of the main
themes of world history.
Equally potent are ideas about social
organization, government, the environment,
morality, and spirituality. EXAMPLE:
 People will go to great lengths to obey the god in
whom they believe.
 Similarly, they can take offense if others behave in
ways they regard as immoral and insulting, even if
those others have no sense that what they are
doing is in any way unacceptable.