With so many available and desirable fields of knowledge that students can study, many people will tend to find the study of history a bit irrelevant. Historians may not end up practicing noble careers like doctors, lawyers, or engineers but society expects those who have attained a good education to contribute back to it in useful ways. In such a way, it becomes difficult to clearly define the functions that history should play in society. But history is a very useful liberal art though its products may not be quite tangible and it may take some reasonable amount of time before its effects can be realized. Besides, every other subject has a history attached to and it is this history that creates excitement about the study by creating room for exploration and discovery.
Opinion about history
Since time immemorial, history has provided a storehouse for volumes of information about how people and societies have behaved over the period. History has been used to evaluate wars, understand genius, help learn and understand past experiences, assess the influence that technological innovation has had over time, as well as to study various beliefs and practices and how these have contributed to the shaping of society and family life. Such study helps to open our imaginations such that we realize things have not always been how we found them; and that they are bound to change sooner or later. Even though modern science has given rise to tremendous inventions, history has provided the most essential data in helping to understand society.
Present events result from past experiences and in turn precede the future. To understand present events, reference must be made to the past because it is in the past that the causes for change lie. History therefore helps us to grasp the cause and course of change, comprehend the reasons that lead to change, and understand those elements of a society or institution that persist despite the occurrence of change. Through such evidence, history aspires to establish the truth about past events.
Uses of history
Through the historical study of past individuals, situations and events, a student of history are exposed to real complexities that individuals in the past have endured. There are historical circumstances in which certain people weathered adversity and such people provide a lot of inspiration especially to young people as well as helping them to weigh their own moral sense. History has been used by nations, ethnic groups, and families to establish the identity of their members although such identity has often been abused. It has also been used in the school curricula to help the learners attain a good citizenship.
History not only gives narratives about extraordinary individuals such as artists, scientists and politicians as well as their noble ideas but also about the ordinary people that have carried on such ideas over the span of time. It has greatly helped to create great political leaders, professionals, as well as business people. Through the historical study of various professions and work situations, students are exposed to the wide laboratory of past human experience and also get prepared for certain careers.
History is very essential not only to individuals but also to society as well. It sharpens the learners giving them ability to assess different kinds of evidence, interpret, as well as deal with such evidence. Students of history acquire the skills to sort out things through diverse and sometimes conflicting interpretations and also graduate as well-informed citizens. History offers us the opportunity to improve on past mistakes and in the process function as much better citizens than our predecessors. History harbors a certain kind of beauty that makes its study quite interesting because it creates room for exploration and discovery.
Sterns, Peter N. Why Study History. New York: American Historical Association, 1998. 2009. Web.
Williams, Robert Chadwell. The Historian’s Toolbox: A Student’s Guide to the Theory and Craft of History. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2007.