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In the 20th century, however, historians shifted their focus from statesmen and generals to ordinary workers and soldiers.Until relatively recent times, however, most men and virtually all women were excluded from history because they were unable to write.Its claim to truth is based in part on the fact that all the persons or events it describes really existed or occurred at some time in the past.Historians can say nothing about these persons or events that cannot be supported, or at least suggested, by some kind of documentary evidence.

and extend back another 1,000 years to a time when kings were thought to mingle with gods.Such evidence customarily takes the form of something written, such as a letter, a law, an administrative record, or the account of some previous historian.In addition, historians sometimes create their own evidence by interviewing people.One way is to make use of nontraditional sources—for example, personal documents, such as wills or marriage contracts.Another is to look at the records of localities rather than of central governments.

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