Throughout history, one of the ways people have recorded what happened during the course of their lives has been in writing. Yet, have you ever found yourself skeptical about a written record of things past? Have you wondered where that information originated from? There are as many sources of information about the past as there are interpretations of them. We need to be aware that the sources of the sources we read and take as factual are trustworthy.
One significant information source comes from those who observe and record events at the time that these happen. This kind of information is referred to as a primary source. It can be autobiographies, diaries, drawings, journals, letters, maps, newspapers, paintings, photographs - including a person’s impressions or opinions. Thus, this information source is not always completely accurate. At times, people who are themselves involved in the events they record are not aware of everything that is happening. Not to mention the influences on their perception from others’ perceptions as well. “I do not know which of us has written this page.”
Primary sources could be interesting to read, nonetheless, as they could add a personal sentiment to the record we read about what happened. Not only can they illustrate people and events but could also express the writer’s feelings at the time. Yet, it is our duty - as part of history ourselves - to compare all accessible primary sources and see - through them - which are more factual and which are more opinions.
“Then I reflect that all things happen, happen to one, precisely now.
Century follows century, and things happen only in the present.
There are countless men in the air, on land and at sea,
and all that really happens, happens to me.”