Why is it important to study history?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several reasons why we study history. One important reason is so we can learn from the past to guide us in the present and in the future. Many events in history repeat themselves to some degree. While the places and names may vary, the basic events are similar. If we can learn from past mistakes, we should be able to avoid making those mistakes now and in the future. Conversely, if we learn from what worked in the past, we can use those ideas to some degree now and in the future.

Many of the causes of World War I were also causes of World War II. The growth of nationalism, the desire for land, and the building of military forces were some of the causes of World War I. After World War I ended, a harsh treaty was implemented that would fuel these issues again within fifteen years after the end of World War I. Instead of learning from the events that led to the start of World War I, similar mistakes were made that ultimately led to the start of World War II.

History also helps us understand people and how they operate. For example, there have been many attempts made by nations to limit immigration. If we can understand when and why societies have tried to do this, we can then anticipate when these issues may resurface. For example, when the United States economy has slipped and unemployment has risen, it is not unusual to hear for calls of placing limits on immigration.

History can teach us many things, which is why it is important to study it.

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