'History is nothing more than a collection of past events'. To what extent is this a valid statement?

Expert Answers
Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

History is not simply a collection of past events. Historians do archive past events. However, the discipline of history is useful and important not because it archives events, but because it engages in meaning-making. In other words, good history tells us why past events matter. This is the fundamental purpose of history as an academic discipline. 

Historians do not rest at simply making blanket claims: "X happened, then Y happened, then Z..." Such claims merely archive data.  Archiving is a necessary perquisite for doing history, but the actual work of historians is to analyze sufficiently abundant data, in order to figure out why we should care that something happened.

Thre are lots of reasons that we should care about what has happened in the past. Past events are linked to present conditions; knowledge of past events can help clarify and illuminate complex realities of today. Historians transform the raw data of past events into narratives that help us to see ourselves and the world in more meaningful context. That is the true practice of history. 

gosaints16 | Student

History is not just a collection of past events it is also never final.  Many discoveries are always being made that can change what we believed.  For example,  Columbus has always been credited with discovering America, however he never set foot on North American soil. He landed on many Carribean islands. We also celebrate Columbus Day in our country. 

We also believe history repeats itself and we can study history and not make the same mistakes.