Political history

Political history is the narrative and survey of political events, ideas, movements, organs of government, voters, parties and leaders.[1] It is closely related to other fields of history, including diplomatic history, constitutional history, social history, people's history, and public history. Political history studies the organization and operation of power in large societies.

From approximately the 1960s onwards, the rise of competing subdisciplines, particularly social history and cultural history, led to a decline in the prominence of "traditional" political history, which tended to focus on the activities of political elites. In the two decades from 1975 to 1995, the proportion of professors of history in American universities identifying with social history rose from 31% to 41%, and the proportion of political historians fell from 40% to 30%.[2]

  1. ^ Politics: The historical development of economic, legal, and political ideas and institutions, ideologies and movements. In The Dictionary of the History of Ideas.
  2. ^ Diplomatic dropped from 5% to 3%, economic history from 7% to 5%, and cultural history grew from 14% to 16%. Based on full-time professors in U.S. history departments. Stephen H. Haber, David M. Kennedy, and Stephen D. Krasner, "Brothers under the Skin: Diplomatic History and International Relations," International Security, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Summer, 1997), pp. 34-43 at p. 4 2; online at JSTOR

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