Both. What has happened in modern history is testimony to the importance of studying and acquiring knowledge of history, the history of the world as well as one's own country. For, there are repetitive mistakes that are made by every great nation, mistakes that reduce these great nations to less, or completely destroy them.
When percentages and statistics reveal that people vote as they have for a presidential candidate who is better looking, or for the one who utters the popular buzzword, or for the one that will best serve the voter's purpose and not what is best for all, it must become a rhetorical question when someone asks, "What does past history have to do with anything now?"
It is, indeed, important in countries where the populace can vote for people to be educated in history. In so many countries where news media or even leaders put slants on events and people, even recreating history at times, if someone knows little about his/her own country, how can she/he vote wisely?