History Personal Statement Example 59

Whilst volunteering for the National Trust at Calke Abbey, I became intrigued by their unique approach to preservation which demonstrates how different rooms were locked over the course of several decades, rendering the house frozen in different eras of history and revealing the impact of the 20th century decline of English country houses on the history of Calke. As a result, I began to consider the role of the National Trust in the preservation of history and the possible loss of historical knowledge in its absence, leading me to question the impact of history on individual perceptions and beliefs. I developed my understanding of the role of history through reading Adam Gopnik's article 'Does It Help to Know History?' which I found particularly intriguing as it challenges the notion that the study of history prevents repeating previous mistakes. Conversely, Gopnik argues the benefit of history lies in averting presentism and the dangerous consequences which arise in the absence of historical perspective. Following this article, I employed the concept of presentism in my entry for the Robinson College Essay Competition in which I opposed nuclear power as the answer to global warming, thus illustrating my ability to apply key historical concepts to my own writing and modern day problems which makes me a fitting candidate to further pursue historical study. Furthermore, through reading Lynn Hunt's 'History: Why It Matters' and Friedrich Nietzsche's 'On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life' I have advanced my understanding of the significance of national history in shaping cultural identity, making me eager to explore the impact of different movements on the relationship between history and politics whilst reading history at university. Recently, I was awarded the school Public Speaking Cup for competing in the Lichfield Schools Public Speaking Competition during which I debated the abolition of the monarchy. As history consists of a variety of opinions, the formulation of arguments is central to the role of historians; my success as a debater reveals my competence in defending my opinions when challenged and engaging with opposing arguments, whilst also showing a willingness to conduct thorough research to support my ideas which are vital attributes for degree-level history. Building on debate research, I continued my exploration into the role of monarchy and colonialism by reading Anthony Webster's 'The Debate on The Rise of the British Empire' during which I became fascinated by the enduring impact of the empire in today's post-colonial society and the duty of historians in reconciling the atrocities committed under the British empire with the glorified image of imperial Britain. Whilst at university, I hope to expand my knowledge of international empires and partake in the ongoing discourse on the influence of empirical attitudes on current society. Moreover, my contribution to Operation War Diary, a project in which WWI documents are digitalised for public access, has improved my proficiency in primary source analysis whilst deepening my appreciation for the importance of remaining connected with the past which has reinforced my interest in the further study of history. Similarly, as a history and English literature student, I have cultivated the critical abilities necessary to interpret and analyse texts within their individual contexts which will benefit me in understanding the meaning and purpose behind historical sources whilst A Level law has given me an insight into the attitudes of different eras of society which are reflected in changes to legislation. In my pursuit of wider knowledge, I have found the purpose of history extends far beyond the remit of what is traditionally believed and through my independent engagement with the subject, the skills and experiences I have gained will assist me in exploring more deeply the extent to which societies are shaped by their past.

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