Difference Between Social Studies and History

Social Studies vs History

The difference between social studies and history is in fact in the scope of each subject. However, you may have seen that social studies and history are two subjects that are often confused when it comes to their subject matter. It is often felt that both refer to one and the same subject. Strictly speaking, it is not right to think that both are one and the same. They are indeed different. History is one of the social sciences. On the other hand, social studies refer to the studies made in the field of society and social behavior. Let us see more about each subject to identify the differences between them.

What is History?

History refers to the study of the various events that took place in the past in the realm of the human world. These events include historical events too. They include the various kinds of rule different countries in the world have experienced, the development of various civilizations across the world, the constructions and the contributions made in the course of time through several centuries, and the like.

Since the subject of history has a vast area of study, it is divided into different parts. Every country includes the history of their country as a part of the history lessons. For example, US includes the history of United States of America so that the American children can know what happened in the earlier days such as who became the first president of America, how the United States came into being, the American Revolution, etc. Apart from this, every country includes a world history portion to their school curriculum. This is done so that the children get to know about the important events that happened in the world that has an effect on the world as a whole. For example, the French Revolution paved the way for the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. This was important because this signifies an important moment in the history of human rights. History contributes a lot towards the development of the subject of social studies.

Difference Between Social Studies and History

What is Social Studies?

Social studies refer to the studies made with an intention to promote social competence. Man is made to understand his responsibility to the society in which he lives. He is made to realize the factors that contribute to the growth of the society around him. Social studies is one of the chief subjects taught at the primary, middle, and high school levels. Environmental studies form a very important part of social studies.

It is important to know that social studies has a bearing on the other subjects such as history and political science too. In other words, it can be said that social studies borrow a few portions from social sciences, as well. Thus, it is proved that social studies is a subset of social sciences.

In social studies, if children learn a lesson about Africa that lesson incorporates many factors. For example, they will learn something about the history of Africa. They will learn something about the economic condition of Africa. They will also learn about the political system of the country as well as the culture of the people. So as you can see this lesson in social studies is broader as it has portions of history, political science, social science, and economics.

Social Studies vs History

What is the difference between History and Social Studies?

• Definition:

• Social studies is the study of various aspects of a society and humanity.

• History is the study of the various events that took place in the past in the realm of the human world.

• Scope:

• The scope of social studies is to make students aware of the society or the world in large where they live.

• The scope of history is to make students see where they come from and think about the actions of the ancestors.

• Objectives or Learning Outcome:

• Social Studies:

Some of the objectives in social studies are as follows:

• Teaching how to gather, use and interpret evidence.

• Applying geographic reasoning.

• Understanding economics and economic systems.

• History:

• Some of the objectives of history are as follows:

• Fostering national feelings.

• Developing right attitudes.

• Developing international understanding.

• Teaching moral principles.

• Connection:

• History is a part of social studies as history has an impact on the behavior of people.

• Focus:

• Social studies has a broader focus on the world.

• History is limited to learning about what happened in the bygone era.

• Lessons:

• A lesson in social studies will focus on a society, the geography of the area this society lives, the political system in place, the history of that society, etc.

• A lesson in history focuses on about past historical events. This tells what happened, how it happened, the result of the event, etc.

These are the differences between social studies and history.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Basking Ridge Historical Society by William Hoiles (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Social Studies by Enokson (CC BY 2.0)