All History is about people but the word ‘people’ requires many definitions. People in History include: famous individuals, ruling elites and political parties, different social classes, specific sectors of society such as peasants and urban workers, rich and poor, men and women, young and old. There is an important difference between history written from the ‘bottom-up’ and history written from the ‘top-down’. People in History also conform to what has been termed ‘multiple belongings’. An individual woman of the early twentieth century might have considered herself to be a nationalist, a socialist, a pacifist and a feminist and would not easily fit into the general categorization of ‘the people’. There are times when the historian needs to know how a whole population reacted to a particular event but in writing the history of wars, revolutions and other events and developments there is a danger that the diverse personal experiences of people may be submerged by the masses.
People do not always react predictably according to the groups they belong to and sometimes it is important to recognise this in order to understand what happened. For example, across Europe some of the feminists supporting votes for women stopped their activities at the outbreak of World War One and supported their government’s involvement in the war, while others became pacifists. Their common position on women’s suffrage was not a good predictor of their position regarding the war or even their political position on other issues. Recognition of multiple perspectives can often help to prevent an historical account from being over-simplistic. Historiana reflects the great diversity and fascination of people in history. Click here to see the range available on this site.
In order to understand people in history, we need to look at them from different angles. Very often, one historical figure has played a role in a multitude of historical events or developments. Winston Churchill, for example, was both an officer for the British army in World War One, a war reporter and two times prime minister of Great Britain. Moreover, he played a key role in the coming to being of an economic and political European community of states. The persons you see below all have multiple relations to material within the Historiana data base. You can explore these relations by clicking on the person and studying the pages where he or she is mentioned.