Read this article to learn about the relationship of history with other sciences:
History is a study of the various facts of human life and is closely linked with other social sciences which make a specific study of different facts of human life.
Many scholars held a view that history is the centre of the social sciences which feeds other social sciences.
History and Political Science:
Prof. Seeley summed up the relationship between history and political science beautifully that,
“History without political science has no fruit and political science without history has no root.”
A historian is not merely concerned with the tracing of the history of the political process by a narration of the episodes.
But he has to learn the nature of fundamental political principles and basic forms of political institution. In the view of this closeness between two subjects, the development of political institutions, rules, regulations, right and duties, law and mode of justice, executive, legislative and administrative functions, economic and financial implications, nature of bureaucracy, fundamental principles of state policy are all defined under the constitution history.
Diplomatic history is a specialized branch of political history which deals with the principles of international relations. Ambassadors are the links between nations and they were custodians and practitioners of diplomacy.
The issue like—balance of power, cold war, international peace, disarmament have assumed great importance in recent times. The military history is an important chapter in political history where in wars, battles, campaigns and conquests figures very prominently. It deals with the causes of a war, strategy and war tactics, war weapons etc.
History is very helpful to politics because the political aspects is a part of the whole range of activity recorded by historian and knowledge of history would enable the politicians to know the politics better and play their role effectively. Prof. Acton has correctly pointed out, “the science of politics is the one science that is deposited by the stream of history like grains of gold in the sand of a river.”
History and Economics:
History is also closely related to Economics. As the activities of a man in society are very closely related with the economic matters, the historian of any period must possess at least a rudimentary knowledge of the economics. In fact, the economic history of any period is an important branch of history and its understanding is absolutely essential for the proper understanding of history of any period.
There has been a new orientation in our historical outlook from the days of the materialistic interpretation of history by Marx and such class struggle, man’s skill in earning, arts and crafts, trade, business and commerce, land revenue, taxes and a host of all other economic activities of the past figure very prominently in history.
No doubt, it is true that during the last few years economics has become very complex and difficult subject, mostly dependent on mathematics, and a modern historian cannot acquire basic working knowledge of economic theory without devoting a lot of time and leaving little time for the study and writing of history.
Therefore, a new set of economic history by the use of economic historians have emerged who try to study the economic history by the use of the economic tools. At present, history is so closely interlinked with the study of economic problems that it would not be possible to reconstruct history without knowledge of the relevant economic problems.
History and Statistics:
In the present century the writing of history has been greatly influenced by the statistical data. With the invention of computers, the collection of statistical data has become possible. The historians have given up the former practice of using the in exact term like majority of historians or people, “wide support” etc., and have started quoting the exact percentage of the people or the help of the computer and processing of enormous data can be completed within a short span and a systematic information can be collected.
Though the conclusion drawn on the basis of the data may be known to the historians on the basis of the impressionistic evidence, which does reduce the value because it provides a concrete evidence for a previously held thesis.
On the same line the use of the historical demography ‘viz-information regarding the movement of people, births and deaths, fertility rates, immigrations, etc., cannot be possible without the means to process and correlate the vast and complex data made available by various official records.
This type of detailed investigation enables the historians to understand the different facts of the past life. A new branch called “Cliometrics” has come into vague, according to which the use of mathematics has come into greater play in the writing of history and interpretation of the numerous sources.
A good historical writing is described as:
A = a + b
“A” stands for the net result that flow from the historian’s mind and pen. “a” is the statistical “d” data and facts which he finds in the records or source “b” is the interpretative and explanatory skill of historian which are essential to make history meaningful. The proper of “Cliometrics” has resulted in what called “Quantified History”.
History and Sociology:
History and sociology are intimately related and a number of sociologists like Auguste Comte are also important figure in the development of historical studies. Karl Marx was also a great historian and sociologist. Both History and Sociology are concerned with the study of man in society and differed only with regard to their approach.
In the recent years it was realized that a fruitful interaction between the two disciplines was possible and Emile Durkheim, Max Weber acknowledge the initial dependence of sociology upon history. Although, history too benefits from the synthesis produced by the sociologists.
Sociologists exercised profound influence on the study of history by developing the certain narrow areas of human activity. They adopted the sampling techniques and develop their tools with a view to minimize the subjective element. In brief, sociology is helping history to study ‘social dynamics’ which is a study not of society at rest but constantly in social change and development social processes and social causation are giving a new perspective to history. India too our historians are now giving increasing attention to social history.
History and Ethics:
History and ethics have a close relationship. Although a true historian is not expected to pass distinct and sensitive judgments on the historical incidents and characters, yet he must know about the ethical principle of the time which influenced the conduct of the people in the past. Probably in the past, there was not reliable ethical science and much of followed were merely a reflection of the bigotry, partial and complexes of the different writers.
In the recent times an attempt has been made to evolve an ethical theory on the basis of biology, psychology and sociology by the scholars like Stephen, Duprat, Dewey etc. A science of conduct has been evolved. A historian must understand and master this science of ethics to have a wider perspective of the issue.
History and Psychology:
History and Psychology are also closely linked. A historian must have to show some psychological insights while making an analysis of the motive and actions of men and societies. Historian work would be mere fiction unless he uses the discoveries of modern psychology. The personal life and the environment of a historian has a direct bearing in his decision and often import a bias to his account and renders the much desired objectivity impossible.
The impact of psychology on history is evident from the fact that in the past historian inquired primarily into the origins of war and ignored the result of war. As a result of the influence of psychology historians have under taken the study of the results and impacts of war. An understanding of the group psychology can enable a historian to determine the role of masses in the various revolutions such as Jingoistic patriotism has been described as the cause of certain wars but historian can discuss this cause with the help of the social psychology.
History and Geography:
Universally it is accepted that History and Geography have very close ties. In fact it would be practically impossible to study; certain branches of history without rudimentary knowledge of geography e.g., the diplomatic or military history cannot be fallowed without necessary geographical knowledge of the region. Geography is one of the eyes of history the other eye being chronology. Time and space factors give history its correct perspective.
Prof. Michelet was of the opinion that history was in essence found upon geography. He says “Without a geographical basis the people, the makers of history, seek to be walking.” German philosopher Kant said, “Geography lies at the basis of history.” Herder said that “history is geography set in motion.”
There are others like American geographer, Ells Worth Huntington, and Allen Semple who emphasise the importance of climate as having crucial influence on the course of history as well as on race temperament.
It is a fact that many geographical factors such as climate, social, rivers, mountains, sea, coastline and mineral resources aided the development of river in valley. Cultures as in early Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. Herodotus, the early Greek historian describes that “Egypt is the gift of the Nile”.
Even Aristotle and Montesquieu have emphasized the influence of climate on man. The physical formation of the country such as Britain, Japan and Greece with broken coastlines had a very powerful impact on its history. This facilitated their naval strength and empire building activities.
Similarly, the Himalayas and the jungles of Assam have acted as barriers against invasions from the North and East of India. The Himalayas and the Gobi and Mangolian deserts were responsible for the isolation of China. The geographical discoveries of America and a new route to India determined the character of World History since the Renaissance.
Geography also plays an important role in the national character formation and influence the human behaviour. As we know that climate of a country greatly affected the civilisation of a country. Hence the knowledge of geographical is very essential for historians. It would be wise to accept the limited interpretation of geographical influence on man’s conduct or on his history.