Political history is on topic on our sister site, History Stack Exchange, and questions about it are mainly under these two tags:

A category of questions being on topic on another SE site says absolutely nothing at all about whether they should be on or off topic on Politics. However if we decide that history questions are on topic on Politics, there will be a somewhat significant overlap between the two sites. But we can manage that, several other SE sites overlap. So, my questions are:

  • Do you think these (or similar) questions would be a good fit for Politics?
  • If so, do you think they'd be treated differently here?

6 Answers 6


Definitely. I think they are even more of a fit here than on history

  • 3
    Politics is often based on precedent, and precedent is just another name for history. Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 23:27

History in politics includes the history of political ideas and theories too. This is not the same as “pure” history.

And we have to understand the origins of what we see today, so I don’t see a practical way to exclude history from our site.


If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.

Source: I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett

A lot of questions about political systems would be unanswerable without references to history. And a lot of questions about political policy are best answered by references to times that policy has been tried, and the effects it had.


The history of politics is on topic.

Events in the past that have political implications is not.

So "How did LBJ build a coalition of Northern and Southern Democrats" is a question of political history, and on-topic. "What was the role of the national guard in integrating schools" is a matter of social history and is better asked in History.se, even though the integration of education was a major political topic at the time.

To take this to the extreme: "Why did Hanibal attack over the Alps" is off topic.

It is also reasonable to ask about current political acts in a historical context "How does Trump's policy on N. Korea compare with JFK's policy towards Cuba?"

History and Politics do overlap, and there will be questions that are on topic on both sites.


I would like to add that politics is an ongoing process and therefore history is an essential component of much political discussion.


In the same vein, I am concerned about the closing of the question "How many percentage of total African-American voters voted in the past" as unclear. This is asking a very specific factual question of political history for a time period that has a fairly limited maximal extent (from the passage of the 15th Amendment to the present) or about which elections were covered, on the grounds that is isn't specific enough about when in time was covered and which elections were a concern.

One shouldn't close or put on hold a question which in my view would be entirely proper at its maximal extent, just because one could choose to be more focused and ask about only part of the question.

The nature of asking questions is that someone doesn't know as much as they would like about a topic. The fact that an answer could be more or less comprehensive in addressing it doesn't mean that it is unclear or too broad.

A huge problem with Politics.SE is its knee jerk tendency to shut down legitimate questions for marginal reasons. Unless one is absolutely certain that a question needs to be shut down, let it run. The process needs to be let work. And, just because you don't see a good way to answer a question doesn't mean that someone else won't.

  • There's a reason that a question is put on-hold if it's unclear, rather than closed, deleted, or anything else. The comments on that question provide a pretty clear list of things that can be done to make the question clearer (or less broad). Then, once it is clearer, it can be answered. In this particular case, there have been 37 presidential elections, 74 congressional elections (multiplied by the number of states each time), and hundreds or thousands of other state and local elections since the 15th amendment. Which ones are relevant? The question doesn't say.
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 16:03
  • I feel this answer would do better as a separate question; right now it doesn't really answer the question "Is political history within the scope of the site?" as such.
    – user11249
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 20:12

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