Importance Of History

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

Studying history is important because doing so allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows us 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.

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In Alan Bennett's play, The History Boys , one of the students refers to the line, attributed to Arnold Toynbee, that history is "just one damn thing after another." This idea encapsulates the worst aspect of traditional history-teaching, in which students memorized lists of battles and the names of great...

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In Alan Bennett's play, The History Boys, one of the students refers to the line, attributed to Arnold Toynbee, that history is "just one damn thing after another." This idea encapsulates the worst aspect of traditional history-teaching, in which students memorized lists of battles and the names of great men. This type of history really was simply a dry, dull list of things that had happened in chronological order.

To study history, rather than merely to memorize lists of battles, however, is to look into the causes of and relationships between important events. Historians do not merely record what took place, but try to work out why. This is why the study of history includes historiography and philosophical theories of history. It also includes epistemology. Historians weigh different types of evidence in a forensic manner, trying to establish which accounts are reliable and corroborated.

The study of history, therefore, is important both because it helps students to understand the past, and therefore the present, and because it teaches vital skills for discovering the truth. In addition to these points, history is an inevitable part of every other academic discipline. Scientists study the history of science, literary scholars study the history of literature. An in-depth understanding of any subject requires the study of history.

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Perhaps philosopher George Santayana said it best: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Learning about history enables us to understand what caused the major conflicts of the past. Armed with this knowledge, we have a better chance of preventing such conflicts from happening again.

One only has to look at a list of influential people today who studied history to get an idea of the heights to which you can be propelled with a thorough knowledge of history. Joe Biden was a history major, as was Martha Stewart, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and esteemed novelist Salman Rushdie.

Studying history also gives us an appreciation of the freedoms that we enjoy today in many parts of the world. Looking at the struggles undertaken for freedom in various parts of the world—take Apartheid South Africa as an example—can provide serious appreciation for the freedoms many of us enjoy today.

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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 their 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.

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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.
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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 gives us an understanding of how the world came to be, not only in your world but around the world, including all human cultures and nature itself. 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 inspire 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.

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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, or archaeological (and so on), 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 we can turn away from our reflection, denying we ever existed at all. Which perspective do you think humanity has a better chance of survival with?

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