The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955 Page: 464
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464 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
view of history is essential to the humanity of men. It is some-
thing worth a man's paying his time and his mind for, whether
he wants to acquire a useful fact, is merely curious about those
who got us our long memory, or seeks something to live by. His-
tory is one answer to that man who believes he must keep asking
where he has been if he is to know where he is; and that he must
know both these facts if he is to make sense of where he is going.
Where we are and whither bound are no longer matters of
easy certainty, even to the most self-confident Texans, the most
erudite historians. That is one reason why regional history can
grow in significance during these unsure years. If one believes
that history can be among other things a guardian genius of good
citizenship, then regional history may perform a special function,
just as citizenship in the precinct or the county performs a special
function. Citizenship is easiest to observe, define, and cultivate
effectively on a local scale. Regional history offers similar ad-
Hence great benefits are open to the young student interested
in the cultivation of historical sense and practical historical skill.
A dairy cooperative in Wisconsin, a tobacco market in Carolina,
or a cattle ranch in Texas will lead him soon enough to the big
economic forces at work in the country and sooner or later will
draw him back into the cavernous past. Similarly, if he is to end
up with an understanding of mixed American cultures and the
subtlest elements in our national heritage, he may well start close
to home by studying the Pennsylvania Dutch or the Tennessee
Highlander or the Germans of Texas. In Wisconsin, Carolina,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, or Texas he must grow capable of gen-
eralizing and of "navigating time without running on the shoals
of triviality." But the great perspective of history is just some-
thing in a book to him unless he can see movement, principle,
or ideal close at hand.
This opinion is not limited to youthful studies, nor does it
embrace uncritically the relativism propounded by the Social
Studies Commission of the American Historical Association. It
simply recognizes an obvious fact: some historical meanings get
their best expression in the natural idiom of familiar life. It is
precisely this idiom which often bridges the gap between regional
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955, periodical, 1955; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/m1/557/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.