History vs. Political Science

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Difference between History and Political Science

The study of history is one of the loftier academic pursuits and its value in terms of giving us a clearer understanding of our past as well as helping us shape our future cannot be discounted. Political science is no less valid of course, and the two are in fact closely related to each other. How? Let's take a look!

History
Political Science

In Brief

The study of history typically focuses on events and developments that have occurred at specific periods in the past. These “blocks of time” are commonly given names that make interest it easier for historians to organize and classify ideas and specific events. Naming these periods according to centuries and decades is quite common, although many periods are named retrospectively as well. This means that the names of certain periods may reflect modern day points of views, and not necessarily what went on in the past.

Political science on the other hand involves itself with matters related to the allocation and transfer of power and its role in decision making. Closely tied in with these concerns are the roles of specific systems as well as governments, and how they shape political actions and public policy.

In Education

Many people consider the study of history as comprised of equal parts humanities and social science. Perhaps a more common point of view is that these two specific fields of study actually play equal roles in the study of history, which utilizes methodologies inherent to each.

As for political science, the term is actually used more liberally in the United States than anywhere else in the world. In most other countries, political science is viewed as only one aspect of the broader study of politics and/or government. The term political science also suggests that it is based on the scientific method, although this may or may not necessarily be the case.

In Practice

Practitioners of history have always worked diligently to record the events of the past, by way of either writing or through the handing down of tradition orally. Historians have also traditionally utilized resources such as monuments, inscriptions, and pictures. And while historical knowledge can be gleaned from writings, oral tradition, and monuments, it is only writing that codifies history and preserves it for future generations in a tangible manner.

Political science is the frameworks by various political issues are analyzed. The information gleaned from such study is used by anyone and everyone from journalists to special interest groups, and politicians to the people. People with training in political science may prove useful in government, industry and the academe.

Similarities and Differences

History

  • Typically focuses on events and developments that have occurred at specific periods in the past
  • Comprised of equal parts humanities and social science

Political Science

  • Involves itself with matters related to the allocation and transfer of power and its role in decision making
  • Suggests that it is based on the scientific method, although this may or may not necessarily be the case

Which courses are more intriguing?
  • History
  • Political Science
 
 

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