How am I supposed to understand what's happening in the world today if I don't know what happened in the past? How can I appreciate the freedoms and opportunities I have unless I know what they cost? How can I teach a work of literature without teaching the historical context of the author and the work? The answer, of course, is--I can't.
I didn't choose history as my major because I prefer to study human nature in the world of fiction; however, I am adamant about sharing what I can about the realities (histories) of those fictional worlds.
I'm so glad others have the same passion for history that I do for literature, because it means they will love it and pass that love on to others.
History is fascinating. You can think of it as high-brow gossip, acceptable to everyone. Think about it: People are still wondering whether Cleopatra actually let the snake bite her or was offed by Octavius. Was Anne Boleyn really unfaithful to Henry VIII, or was he just tired of her and wanted a new wife? Did Neanderthals interbreed with Cro-Magnons? It's great!
I like Post 10. Political and constitutional history is what I like to study the most. I also get something from intellectural history, military history, even a bit each of social and cultural. But given that government has far more impact on my life than Monday night football or the World Series, I do like to give some of my spare time to studying political and constitutional history.
Returning to Napoleon as mentioned in post #2, it is interesting that the word for history in French is histoire, which also means story. So, as Napoleon also remarked, "What is history but a fable retold?"
Yet, while the powers that are in control do record events from their perspective, still everyone is a part of the era in which he/she has lived, and everything that happens in an era is effected by the circumstances of that era. So, the importance of history can certainly not be mitigated. For, whether it be recorded accurately or not, it is the backdrop against which life plays out.
I love history as well. I think I first learned to love it when I had a high school history teacher who loved to tell stories. I think the greatest history teachers are probably those who tell good stories. He'd put his outlines on the overhead (olden days?) and illustrate it as he talked. Later, I learned to appreciate history even more through historical fiction, usually adolescent novels.
It is good to see other people that enjoy learning about history! It seems that most students complain about having to be in a history class. It was always one of my favorite subjects. However thinking back I had good history teachers.
Great point brettd!
I love history too. There are so many things to learn about and you will never run out of material. By learning about history you learn about how we got to where we are today.
I have had students who dislike history and when I ask them what they would like to learn about I can always tie history into it and then I have them hooked.
I like history, too. In high school I had the good luck to have a teacher who had the good sense not to use a textbook. He lectured to us from his college history notes. He had us read and report on the history topics that interested each of us personally.
In my college freshman history course, my prof. used only a textbook. I didn't like that course.
In more advanced history courses, the profs. assign several books to be read, and a textbook. I didn't like textbooks so I learned to go to the library after most lectures and look up what the prof. emphasized in his lecture. Sometimes I could find a good journal article. Sometimes a book with a good introduction/prologue or a good conclusion/epilogue. Sometimes a good article in a biographical dictionary. This served me better I think than textbooks. I don't like textbooks.
Anyway, if you have to use a textbook, read also some other material on the topics of the course. It will make the course more fun for you.
Another tip: before an exam, practice writing out from memory, answers to questions that will likely be on the exam. Compare your answers to your notes and other resources; improve your answers, then practice from memory again. I didn't have sense enough to do that in high school, and no one told me, but in college, I soon figured out that I darn well better do it--swim or sink.
I like the Post 4 above.
An English teacher once asked me how I could stand to teach history - all those dates and facts and events. She was baffled that I could actually enjoy such a subject. I gave her the same answer I give everyone: I teach every subject. Where is Shakespeare without history? History, people, events, this is what authors write about. Same for math - the evolution of mathematics has a mountain of history behind it, in every textbook and formula. Technology, science, government, art - history is the mother of all subjects. The response works every time. I hope you end up liking it as much as I do. Plus there's just so many GREAT STORIES in history!
I love the Napoleon quote that goes something like this: history is simply the version of events that we agree to agree upon. This essentially means that a lot of history is based upon individual perspective.
The important part of studying history is not so much dates and places, but why things happened. It's the skills that are taught in history that end up having the most effect on people; such as learning how to compare/contrast, determine historical significance, explain relevance, and predict future events based on past historical data.
History is not so much a discipline of facts as it is a way to learn HOW to think. I believe students enjoy these classes because they aren't as rigid ( science, math ) and allow for multitudes of opinions ( in my class, as long as there are some facts to back them up ).
I think history is very important because without history we would not know our past. If we do not know our past , let's put it like this if you don't know about politics you might not know the president, laws and other things