My Desire To Study History In The United States

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Growing up in Manchester, the heart of the Industrial Revolution and the birthplace of the Suffragettes, I have been surrounded by history for most of my life. I have been exposed to the city’s rich stories and accolades, which have inspired me to delve further into different realms of history. Having grown up in an Anglo-Irish family, it has spurred me to learn about and discover historical periods outside of the educational system’s syllabus. It was the memories from my extraordinary grandfather, who taught me that history is more than facts, dates and stories, it is people’s lives.

So many remarkable people throughout history have been forgotten and I want to be one of those responsible for keeping their legacy alive. History is important to society as it is inevitable that we will repeat events unless we learn from the mistakes and successes of the past. History comes with many interpretations and perspectives. I want to explore historical events from every angle. I am enthused to tailor my learning to my historical preferences at university having the opportunity to study a wider syllabus. Artefacts play such an important role in the ability to construct a better understanding of historical context. I have a fascination, even an obsession with keeping the past alive. For example, I enjoy collecting and using vintage cameras.

Studying English Literature and Classics at A Level has matured my writing style as well as develop my vocabulary. Literature has encouraged me to discover texts that I would not have approached on my own and has enabled me to acquire important skills and knowledge that go hand in hand with my historical endeavours. I have recently completed an Extended Project on the position of women during the early part of the twentieth century looking at how and why their lives changed throughout a fifty-year period. It has taught me significantly about the way in which I learn as well as providing me with transferable skills for university such as Harvard referencing and the importance of independent study. I have had the good fortune to visit New York and in November will be visiting Washington D. C. In New York the detailed architecture and the dense number of historical sites such as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum further embedded my fascination for American culture and history. My Washington trip will help me to immerse myself first hand in the politics and culture of America, which I hope, will enable me to consider contextual factors during my A Level course. Reading has been an ardent interest throughout my childhood.

The escapism of books and the ability to delve into someone else’s world to escape the mundanity of your own is what I would argue intrigued me most about reading. After, encountering books like A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, amended my perspective on Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America. I was astounded to learn he was a brutal and ruthless figure and was not afraid to be tyrannical in his pursuits. It could be argued that Columbus is demonstrative as an example of how time clouds our judgement in society sometimes. How shocking events lose this quality after time because what he did was centuries ago it does not take away from the fact that he destroyed the lives of many for his benefit of so few. America for me displays an immense attraction and charisma that highlights the idea of the American Dream living on in the twenty-first century, it’s history, politics and society have been a source of fascination for me since I can remember. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge base and understanding more of the global context of this great nation. I see undergraduate study as an opportunity to grow academically and socially and hope to make a significant contribution to your course and university.

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