How is the study of past important to the present? What are the questions in modern world that the study of past could help answer?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Studying the past can teach us a lot about the present. So many events in history repeat themselves. While the names and places change, in many ways similarities exist. We can learn a lot about how to proceed in the present by learning from the past.

Financial issues continue to be a concern. We can learn from past mistakes so we can decrease the chances of repeating them. The Federal Reserve made mistakes during the Great Depression. When we faced a similar situation around the year 2000, the Federal Reserve learned from its past errors and made policy changes. Instead of cutting the money supply as it did during the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve increased it in the recession of 2000. The Federal Reserve also has responded with appropriate policies necessitated by the Great Recession of 2008. Some of those policies are still in effect today.

Today, we are fighting a war against terrorism. During World War I, the Germans were sinking our merchant ships. These ships were unarmed and were sunk without warning. This is similar to acts of terrorism today. We can learn from past experiences to help develop policies to deal with the problems we face because of terrorism.

The wars we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are similar to what we faced in Vietnam. If learned from our lack of success in Vietnam, we should apply those lessons to current wars that are similar to what we faced in Vietnam.

These are a few examples of how we can learn from the past to deal with issues we face today.