Is it just important to study history or to know our history?

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I see. I do think it's important to study history in order to know it. You definitely need to know history. Your question implies that when you study you don't remember, so I guess we need to change the way we study and teach history. Then we might remember it better.
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I agree with both post #2 and post #8. I am hoping that by studying history we will all gain knowledge of history.However, perhaps you mean that we are all creating history by being alive and experiencing this lovely planet?! If we are designing our history, we will definitely know it first hand. To "know" our history, however, is to be able to connect to what is happening today.

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I would have to say that by studying history you are in turn learning and knowing your history.

I think that people can live perfectly normal lives if they are in the dark about history. However, I do think that it is important to know your own history for several reasons. First of all, it makes you appreciate what you have and living here in the United States that is freedom. Thousands upon thousands of people have died fighting for this country and I believe it is very important to know that. We should also be appreciative of that. I personally feel that we do celebrate the sacrifices that men and women have made to the extent that we should. Secondly, it puts things into perspective. By knowing history, you are able to understand why we are the way we are.

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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?    

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If the implication of the question is that studying history is only for an external end and knowing it is more internal, I would say that knowing it is more important.  Yet, I have to confess that this reflects my own bias towards the discipline.  I think that there will be a variety of answers to this question and they will be based off of individual perception and experience.  Certainly, there is a value in "knowing" anything and everything.  The reality might be that individuals have to make choices on what it is they "love to learn" or what it is that "has to be learned."  In this light, there might be the different to "know" something as opposed to "study" it.  In the end, one can only hope that what is studied is known and loved.

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This is always how I start out a new term with my history classes.  I ask them why (or if) it is worthwhile to study history.

Of course, it is not vital to know the history of the world or even of your own country.  You can get through your life perfectly well if you do not know your country's history.  Ignorance of history will not likely keep you from getting a job (other than that of history teacher).

What I tell students is that there are a couple of benefits:

  • Knowing history can make you a better citizen of a democracy.  It gives you insight into what works and what does not.  It helps you understand which things are problems and which are not.
  • Studying history can also help you with your reasoning skills.  This is something that is truly important.  If you cannot think, you cannot hold a really good job.  History (along with other subjects) forces you to think if it is taught properly.
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I'm going to take a more extreme position here and say that as citizens of any country, it is important to know our history.  In the same way it is important for people to know their family histories, we can do our own country the same respect it deserves by considering its history as important as we consider family history.  Also, in the same way that knowledge of family history allows us insight into our mental and physical health, as well as the relational and behavioral connections we may have to those who came before us, knowing our country's history can provide us with similar connections - perhaps not as individuals, but as a society.

I suppose several people never take the time to know their own family history and it is likely that many more do not think it is important to know the history of a nation.  How tragic.

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