In preparation for the upcoming Decades Assignment and the Final Exam, I will be spending a few moments today reviewing the concept of "Historical Significance". To help you with this concept, please read the excerpt below, and be prepared to discuss the application to your assignment with the class.
What is historical significance?
Historical events, people, and trends are significant if they have special meaning and importance.
The flowing excerpt from Benchmarks of Historical Thinking helps to define historical significance:
Significance depends upon one’s perspective and purpose. A historical person or event can acquire significance if we, the historians, can link it to larger trends and stories that reveal something important for us today. For example, the story of an individual worker in Winnipeg in 1918, however insignificant in the World War II sense, may become significant if it is recounted in a way that makes it a part of a larger history of workers’ struggles, economic development, or post-war adjustment and discontent
What makes an event/person/trend significant?
Here are the criteria for historical significance:
1). Prominence at the time—an event, person, or trend can be considered significant if it was considered very important to many people during a particular period in time.
2). Consequences—an event, person, or trend can be considered significant if it had a strong impact on future events.
3). Subsequent Profile—an event, person, or trend can be considered significant if it is remembered by a large amount of people.
*These criteria were adopted from Denos M. and Case R. (2006) Teaching About Historical Thinking. Vancouver: The Critical Thinking Consortium.