What Is History? Essay, Research Paper
History is the study of how the world we live in now has been shaped by the events of
the past. It is a record of human experiences relative to the society in which we live. Our
lives as members of western civilization, have been formed by outstanding institutions,
ideas, and creative works. Without the knowledge of our past we would have little
direction in our society, we can not learn from past mistakes and successes, to put it
bluntly, we learn the past to predict the future.
The majority of the knowledge we gain by studying history is of the political,
economic, and social record of our past. We learn the reasons why certain governments
succeeded and others failed by studying our political record. Issues such as trade and
commerce have existed since the origin of civilization and by studying our economic
record we may learn the solutions to any problems we may come across today. These
aspects are too closely related to ever be mentioned in isolation.
Although closely associated with the previous two, one aspect of history which effects
every human being on the planet is our social record. Every culture?s traditions have
made some contribution to the society we live in, the art and music of the past have such
obvious descendants in everyday life, especially in the United States, that one can?t help
but thinking that people in the past weren?t that different than people today.
One of the most important reasons for studying our history is simple self-preservation.
Without certain skills passed down from generation-to-generation, human survival would
be extremely difficult. Skills such as linguistic communication and cartography, are key
to are survival. Maps are a clear record of history, a simple map can show how people
have migrated from various regions across the globe or how certain religions and
governments prospered in particular regions. Although effective, a map is just one
example of the physical manifestation of history in our world.
As for the subject of world history, I feel it is Important that we learn as much as we
can about other cultures and their history, doing so, we as citizens of the United States,
can better understand where some of the influences in our clothes, music, and food,
originated. We live in a nation that is made possible by the past successes of many social
groups. Our form of government, religious beliefs, and scientific knowledge, all have
their origin in European history. As well, many of the problems we face now have at one
point occurred in some society at one time or another, by studying the past we can also
learn when problems without recent precedent occur.