About Prof. Eugene Lieber
Prof. Eugene Lieber
"Clear vision, a critical
Eugene Lieber was an
Associate Professor of History at Essex County College where he has
taught American History and World Civilization for 39 years. For over
two decades he has also lectured to various groups on a wide variety of
topics, covering the world and the United States, ancient, modern, and
Is the historian objective? Objectivity is an ideal to aspire to, but it is never quite reached. Be immediately suspicious of one who claims to be completely objective. We all have our preconceptions, our prejudices. The best we can do is be up front about them. Do our interpretations make sense? Never assume the historian has some final truth.
Is history a science? In the way physics or mathematics may be considered a more exact science, the answer is no. History cannot predict the future with any exactitude.
So can anything be
understood? Some argue that we are dealing totally with
unexplainable chaos. I disagree. There is a view that all
history is accident
History studies causation -- what led to events occurring. What are the various causes? One argument is called the Great Man Theory of History. All we need is to study are the lives of great men in history. That there are.
Another view of history is to see it as the story of progress -- from the Stone Age to the present. That is certainly one way of looking at it. But progress is often in the eyes of the beholder. In the days of American slavery, the slave master might see history as progress. The slave probably would not. After the Civil War, the ex-slave master might see history as going downhill. The ex-slave might now see progress. When England had a mighty colonial empire, that English upper class might see history as progress; the conquered peoples might not. The reversal of viewpoint might accompany the collapse of that empire. Progress may therefore be a relative term.
Allowing for all of the above, I must place human beings at the center of the story of history, what they have been capable of, for better or worse, in their relationship to nature and each other.
Facts such as names and
dates may seem dry and boring. The point is to bring them alive in
the interpreting of them. I believe history is inherently a
dramatic story, and I hope to convey that.