Scientific Method - Formulate a hypotheses, test said hypotheses by collecting and analyzing information regarding hypotheses, publish findings so others can examine and duplicate inquiry.
From a quick google search:
Scientific method: the means of science by which phenomena are observed, hypotheses are tested, and conclusions are drawn.
Scientific method: the steps necessary for scientific investigation; 1) the observation of phenomena, 2) the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, 3) the development of protocols to test the validity of the hypothesis, 4) experimentation, and 5) a conclusion that supports or modifies the hypothesis
The closest to what you are talking about would be one that rewords the first step:
Scientific method: The scientific method follows a series of steps: (1) identify a problem you would like to solve, (2) formulate a hypothesis, (3) test the hypothesis, (4) collect and analyze the data, (5) make conclusions.
Even with that, your example does not meet the criteria:
Quick example of it not being used in scientific inquiry:
Hypotheses - Napoleon was a contemporary of Thomas Jefferson.
Collect and analyze information - According to Wikipedia Napolean lived between 1769 and 1821. Jefferson between 1743 – 1826.
Publish findings - Napoleon was a contemporary of Thomas Jefferson.
You have not identified a problem you would like to solve.
You have not made an observation of a phenomenon or problem.
You are simply making a statement and then providing the information that makes you believe that. That is not scientific method.
Scientific method in candle making:
1) Observation: When I cleaned my mold in hot water, when the water cooled, I noticed that small chunks of palm wax floated on the water.
2) My hypothesis: The density of the palm wax itself is less than the density of water.
3) Design a test to see if that is the case… in this case, add melted wax to see if the wax in liquid form also floats.
4) Observe and collect data.
5a) If the liquid wax also floats, conclude that based on the current level of knowledge, the wax seems to have a lower density than water. Do more testing to adjust for more variables.
5b) If the liquid does not float, revise hypothesis.
2b) The density of the liquid wax as it hardens will be effected by the air and will make the hardened wax have a density lower than water…
Scientific method starts with observation and a question…
Now.. if you observed that there was a document written by Napoleon to Jefferson, you could apply the scientific method to gather evidence as to whether or not this was legitimate.
Observation: Napoleon was supposed to have written a letter to Jefferson.
Hypothesis: Napoleon was a contemporary of Jefferson.
Test your hypothesis, gather your data and conclude that the letter COULD have been written to Jefferson by Napoleon because they were indeed contemporaries… continue investigating.
That would be an application of scientific method in the field of history. But history is not by default NOT scientific. It is a field within science if the scientific method is used.
It is distinguished by both the method used and the subject studied. “Science is the study of a subject which is readily available, in an active state, for repeatable observation and experimentation.”
I bolded your definition of science… none of which excludes history, by your own example. If you disagree, then I guess you do not consider anthropology and archeology a science. Which most anthropologists and archaeologists would disagree with.
History has letters and verbal evidence the same way that archeology has fossils and midden piles.