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Why Study History? Essay

History. It obviously did not happen overnight, but why study something that happened so long ago? With all of the rapid technological growth across the globe, what is the point of learning about what was? It is not like the past can be rewritten, so why ponder what was when you could embrace what has yet to be? Peter N. Stearns once wrote, “History should be studied because it is essential to individuals and to society, and because it harbors beauty.” With this in mind, it is important to study history for a variety of reasons such as the fact that history is all around us, we are a product of it, and in order to understand how certain societies function, you must know the history behind them in the first place. History is in every nook and cranny you feast your eyes upon. See this paper? The ink? My last name? Basically, there’s no possible way of escaping it. In knowing more about history, you tend to know a great deal more about your surroundings as well.

History is incorporated in almost everything such as science, writing, and etcetera. Without knowing certain key points about the past, you make find the present (or future) to be just that much more confusing or hard to take in. Although a great number of people expect life to be handed to them on a silver platter, life is not always that way. William H. McNeill stated, “Broadening our humanity and extending our sensibilities by recognizing sameness and difference throughout the recorded past is therefore an important reason for studying history…” Today’s society, and all future societies to come for that matter, is the creation of our past whether we like it or not. Deprived of the knowledge of what was before us, we would not even know why we are who we are today or how we came to be.

Every person across the face of this Earth has been molded into what they are today by the past. Have you ever wondered sometime about why humanity is the way it is, or why society works the way it does? In order to find the answer, you must follow back the footprints to pinpoint the history of the society as a whole. In doing so, you will develop a greater understanding about what occurred in the past as to comprehend how a specific piece changed forever. Peter N. Stearns wrote, “ … [history] offers the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and people need to have some sense of how societies function simply to run their own lives.”

Although history does not necessarily repeat itself, per say, you can get a fairly decent idea of what the future has to offer. Therefore, you would know what to do if a similar situation arises whether how good, bad, or indifferent. When you look into the past and contemplate why today’s society is how it is, just remember that the world just an effect of history. In order to follow how society functions as a whole, it is imperative that you know how it all started in the first place.


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