Importance Of History

Why is it important to study history? Explain your answer. 

Quick Answer

Studying history is important because it allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows to understand our present. If we want to know how and why our world is the way it is today, we have to look to history for answers. People often say that “history repeats itself,” but if we study the successes and failures of the past, we may, ideally, be able to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future. Studying history can provide us with insight into our cultures of origin as well as cultures with which we might be less familiar, thereby increasing cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

Expert Answers
pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The study of history is important because it allows one to make more sense of the current world. One can look at past economic and cultural trends and be able to offer reasonable predictions of what will happen next in today's world. One can also understand why some rules exist in the modern world. For example, one can understand the importance of the social welfare programs if one looks at the Great Depression and New Deal. We can also look back on the Civil Rights movement and see why the United States puts so much effort into creating a system where everyone is equal before the law and has equal access to public amenities. History also allows us to see how the United States gradually created the Constitution after it had just fought a war against a central government that did not care for colonial interests. Without a background in history, one does not appreciate why the Constitution was revolutionary for its time. More broadly, history enables us to understand different cultures.

If those are not good reasons for studying history, one can study history because it allows one to exercise his/her critical thinking skills. These critical thinking skills are important for all areas in life, academic and otherwise. Historians also write a great deal; a study of history allows one to practice writing for different audiences.

dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe the single most important reason to study history is that history teaches us to 'think'. Whether it is American, European, military, art, ancient, modern, religious, archaeological, etc. history enables us to contemplate the experiences that came before us. It is true that history is the record of our past, however I think history is more than time and place. History allows us to 'think' about the greatest question humanity has ever asked.....WHY? Finish the question any way you want. Studying history allows humanity to look at its own reflection. We can embrace the reflection (good and bad ) and be stronger for it, or turn away from our reflection denying we ever existed at all. Which perspective do you THINK humanity has a better chance of survival with?????

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The main reason to study history is so that you find out all of the facts for yourself. If you don't study history, you won't know when someone is misleading you. People always have their own version of the facts. It's important that you know for yourself.
mapriem eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to study history so one may learn about past human behavior that is relevant to the intellectual growth and development of an individual.  Studying the events of the past give us an understanding of how the world came to be, not only in your world but around the world including all cultures of people as well as nature. By learning about the causes and effects of events in history, people can learn better ways to deal with conflict among nations and individuals. Studying the history of environmental changes can enhance a healthier lifestyle for mankind, as well as prevent the extinction of plants and animals, which could disturb our ecosystems.  Although human behavior is unpredictable at times, a better understanding through the study of history, can provide valuable insight for our future generations.

Here's a short video about why we should study history:

hermy27 | Student

One of the greatest benefits of studying history is that it allows us a chance to learn about who we came from.  The people of the past are those who came before us, and it is interesting to see how some of the thoughts, attitudes, and practices of today can differ so drastically from those throughout history.  On the other side of that coin, it can be fun to learn about ideas that began 100 years ago that are still a modern day issue.  An example of this would be to look back at the suffragettes of the early 20th century who paved the way for the modern day equal rights movement.  They were fighting to make sure that women could be treated as equal citizens of our country, including the right to vote, own property, or hold credit.  In fact, it wasn't until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 that women were allowed to possess a credit card in their own names (not attached to a father or husband's account).  The equal rights movement is still a current hot topic 100 years later.

lexil0 | Student

Studying history is important because it allows us to see societal patterns. Throughout history there have been both great successes and horrific failures. As the saying goes "those who are unfamiliar with their history, are bound to repeat it". Studying history allows us to build on our accomplishments and learn from our mistakes. History all puts life into perspective. It allows individuals to see where they came from which better allows them to situate themselves in their own lives. 

kevin0001 | Student

It is important to study history because you would get to learn about our world and it's past. History can show you a lot about past human civilization, successes in the past, great ancestors, failures and disasters, and so much more about the past. You would be more aware about the world and much smarter if you learned about history. If you don't learn about history you might repeat the past mistakes in history.

Wiggin42 | Student

Whether to study History or not is not a question at all. As a human we should know or have a curiosity to who was our ancestors? How did they live? what did they do in this world? It reveals not only our past but how we can design our future in a better way. There are valuable lessons in analyzing our past to figure out the future outcome without paying a huge price for it.

laurto | Student

History is really important because it helps us understand why we live the way we are living and why we are where we are as a species and country. Studying history allow to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors so we do not do the same things they did and work to become a better place. It allows us from repeating the same mistakes and allows us to avoid worse results than those seen in the past. 

Yojana_Thapa | Student

It is crucial to study history because history is the answer for how this world came to be. History teaches us lessons learned from previous mistakes. It teaches us what this country should do and shouldn't do. Because we know the consequences already. This says it all, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

inaamethyst | Student

I'd like to share my opinion for the question why is it important to study history.

It is important to study history

-It keeps us aware on how our ancestors lived during their time, on how they managed their living.During their time,there's no any machines that they can use like us now.

-It gives us information on how a person came to be,or how a thing started.

-If we do not have history,our mind will be conscious on how God created us,how did our nation came to be,or what's the reason of God why He created us,why are we here now?

Those questions and so many more are not going to be answered without history. 

habrown | Student

To study history is important to the survival of humanity. It has been said before by the philosopher George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Without a recording of history, how can those living understand how society thought in the past, why they did what they did, and the impact those choices made in the immediate aftermath and even today? To ignore history and not study it is to ignore some great lessons that could improve the future. 

Learn history and you will see the patterns emerge. You will see people of the past who did not remember history and therefore made the same mistakes as the people before them. History is important in that it reveals all of the past. It is there for you to study and learn from so that the future can be improved upon. 

phzanelato | Student

"A people who do not know their history are fated to repeat it."

al1gfala | Student

It is important because history helps you understand the past to predict the future and help in creating it.

hawraaghandour | Student

Studying history gives us wide opportunities to get better understanding of our past experiences to count on the  great achievements and avoid the horrific mistakes. It allows us to think critically about our present situations to take decisions for our future. understanding history helps us avoid repeating the mistakes over and over again. The more we study history , the wiser we become. Doomed are those who can't interpret history well.

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melissamorghan | Student

we should study history because we can get a better understanding of a country  or place

| Student

It helps you understand what has happened in the past.

history is good it is  a persumentive of life and help u do da right thing

moralesmilet | Student

Studying the history is very will teach us to be satisfied and thankful for whatever we have now..if you look back the way our ancestors live, you will be thankful.. for your life is easier and more comfortable now.

I'm sorry, it really dosen't matter to me. My teacher just makes it so boring it makes me want to burn every history text book in the world. I hope this makes you laugh :) .

purity-omwega | Student

History as a subject enables us to know about our origins,appreciate our cultures as well as others and also helps us to know why things are the way they has also became a field of study hence people are able to get careers and make a living.In short we can be able to reconstruct the past through studying History....

History teaches us to learn from our mistakes and past experiences. it allows us to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. 

parama9000 | Student

Sorry it is think and question.

parama9000 | Student

It allows for people to thunk and question whether one's culture's actions ethical,  moral etc.

epollock | Student

The most obvious reason is so that we don't make the same mistakes in the past and are able to avoid them by choosing more postive courses of action. It is almost as if we are doomed to destroy ourselves.

jillyfish | Student

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

user238781 | Student

Why to study history; to know yourself, to know your world, to know others. Is that what you are asking, cause that's what I am! 

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