History Personal Statement
It isn't an exaggeration to say my devotion to History has moulded me into the diligent and ambitious person I am today. History continues to shape our contemporary world and my opinions have been formed from an intellectual curiosity about the resonances between the past and the present. There is a single thread linking Medieval and a Modern war, attrition isn't just a strategy; it is a theme that has been recurrent in History for centuries. This is a clear analogy that is evident in the Wars of the Roses, WW2 and is a continuation in the current Israel and Palestinian conflict. This is evidence of the fact that, you can change the scenarios and figures but the thesis behind these conflicts will never change.
Something that particularly reinforced my desire to study History further was reading Christopher Reed's biography on Vladimir Lenin. In lessons I explored the "Machiavellian" tactics Lenin used, however Reed's convictions allowed me to gain perspective into Lenin's pragmatism and his dedication to the concept of Communism. Reading this thought-provoking book made me conclude that despite Lenin's eventual greed, his principles were originally morally coherent. It's an underestimation to compare Stalin's version of Communism to Marx's, for Stalin led a fascist dictatorship disguised under Communism, a system quite comparable to Hitler's dictatorship. Engaging in political debates about Israel and Palestine or Weimar Germany have allowed me to develop my social and political views and evaluating opposing critical perspectives has led me to understand how perception is key in the study of history.
What separates History from my other A-levels is that it never fails to deliver a remarkable challenge. It demands independent opinion, intellectual rigour and the ability to interrogate which will give me the academic foundations needed to excel at university. Studying History stirred me to go beyond the syllabus to independently research issues that intrigued me. Whilst reading Neil Hegarty's The Story of Ireland I was absorbed by the extent and success of political games played by Charles Parnell in the 18th century.
I find exploring different sources very stimulating, especially where an intriguing relationship emerges between the two. I found Owen Jones' Chavs and Thomas More's Utopia fascinating, whilst More's is fictional; both discuss issues of class and political philosophy through a cycle of History. Both writers express views that spark controversy, it would've been outrageous for More to argue philosophy had an influence on politics; likewise it was contentious for Jones to argue that there has been no evolution of the working class.
The greatest gift History has given me is versatility. It may seem like my heart is with modern History, but my ardour for post 15th century History is immeasurable. My interest has helped me lead an independent study into the era and the Tudors are at the centre of that interest. Suzannah Lipscomb's article in History Today sparked my interest on Henry VIII as a paradoxical figure that we love to hate and thus argues that we will never really understand the man he was. An analysis such as this encourages me to study History as it proves that there's never a definitive answer to our questions.
I'm a writer and my articles consist of scathing criticism of the news, culture, and politics, I hope I'll make use of my writing talent in the future. Being part of the senior youth board at the Manchester Museum also gives me individuality, and involves creating independent projects, for example on the history of Manchester where I'll use a variety of primary sources to give a real portrayal of why Manchester is a momentous city.
My drive and my dedication will make me successful and studying History will help me achieve my full potential, I'm certain that I will make a unique and profound contribution to the university. Whatever step I take I know History is the correct path for me.