Why Do We Study History

Why should we study history?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many reasons to study history, just as there are to study any discipline.  The advancement of knowledge and understanding for its own intrinsically merit might be one reason.  History is a compendium of understanding that might have no other reason but an intrinsically compelling reason to study.  This makes history unique in that there might not be some external benefits to the discipline's study, but rather simply cause individuals to know more.  From an external point of view, there is a line of logic that argues that history repeats or patterns can emerge.  In studying history, we, as learners, better understand these sequences and can better grasp such unfolding.  Another reason might be to reconnect with out past.  In studying history, we accept that we are a part of something larger than ourselves and in this, we better understand our own sense of identity.  If I live in the temporal present only, I might believe that no one else endured what I do.  Yet, in studying history, I am able to understand how my predicament is similar to someone else's who came prior to me.  I might also be able to examine what they did and assess if this is a path that I want to take or something I wish to avoid.  in the end, I think that the study of history is one where individuals are able to connect themselves to something larger than merely subjective consciousness.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the major reason for studying history is to have a connection to the other people in your country.  At least, this is the only reason that I think that history should be required in schools.

In order to have a society that holds together, we need to have things that we hold in common.  We need to have a common culture that binds us.  In the US today, we do not have a common religion or a common ethnic heritage.  What we do have in common is the history of the country and our knowledge of it.  When we all know what our country has stood for and been about over the years, we are able to feel that we are a part of whole and that the other parts of the whole are like us in some important way.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Napoleon said that history is but a fable retold.  It would seem that often history is rewritten to fit the ideologies of those in power.  Nevertheless, there is a necessity if not for myth, at least to have some idea of the past so we can understand just how futile attempts to have humanity progress are.  After all, history is so often repeated, is it not?  At least when one reads American history, for instance, he/she can perhaps understand what it is that we are in fear of losing.  To be uninformed is, indeed, dangerous.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

History reveals who we are in relation to others and how we got where we are today.  I'd like to say we can look back and thereby avoid the pitfalls and tragedies ahead of us; however, we're fairly slow learners and often need to experience the pain for ourselves in order to learn the lesson.  Given that, then, studying history--even slanted or distorted history--serves to show us where we've been and how we got where we are.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The study of History answers the question of why we are where we are. To comprehend  current activities in the world, it's imperative to comprehend what occurred in the past.  That vantage will lead not quite to prescience, but may facilitate an understanding of causes and consequences that may help with making beneficial decisions for the future.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
We study history so we know what influences shaped our world. Sometimes we do not know why things are the way they are. Studying history helps us to see the root causes and understand why things are the way they are. This can help us make decisions.
lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree that we study history in order to learn about the past and to learn from the past. By studying history hopefully nations can prevent making the same mistakes over and over.

anindo | Student

History tell us what we are ,what we were ,what was our capabilities how can we improve it by not repeating our mistake What is history? It sounds such a simple question doesn't it? But it can cause a lot of disagreement. Napoleon called it 'a myth' and Henry Ford called it 'bunk'! Other people think it is much more important, believing, like the American historian David McCullough, that History is who we are and why we are the way we are.Time in its irresistible and ceaseless flow carries along on its flood all created things and drowns them in the depths of obscurity. .But the tale of history forms a very strong bulwark against the stream of time, and checks in some measure its irresistible flow, so that, of all things done in it, as many as history has taken over it secures and binds together, and does not allow them to slip away into the abyss of oblivion

ajaz786 | Student

History helps us understand how this present evolved. Its a journey across time and space. It transport us into another world, aeconomy, age, in which people lived differently. Their economy, society, beliefs, clothes, food, settlements, buildings and arts and crafts all were different. History can open door into such world.

     History is not just about past. Its about present. By studying history we can understand how the modern world evolved over a long centuries of development.

   Moreover, while studying history, we develop important skills and qualities. When we try to enter an another world to explore it, we open up our minds and break out of our present worlds. We begin to think how other people may think and act. It gives us a learning experience.

jodank | Student

Studying history helps us learn from the past so we don't make the mistakes that previous generations and civilizations make again. 

For example, the U.S. learned that by becoming isolated again after WWI, they weren't able to help other nations  who were suffering such as Germany who was practically being bullied by Great Britain as a result of the treaty that ended the war. From this, Germans such as Hitler became angry with the received abuse so he later revolted and became a leader to punish the countries oppression them.

wjzmw | Student

1.We study history to know how things were in the past and how they have changed over year's, also so we understand the mistakes made by our ancestors should not be repeated in future by us.

2. To expand our knowledge about history.

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