Is History important?

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I never liked the subject of History until I graduated high school.

There are a lot of things I never knew.
In school I always dreaded History because it was always so negative. Everything in the books always said the government was bad, not necessarily the people.
Some good things like Columbus discovering the Americas was clouded by the constant reminder of how he slaughtered American Indians for his own pleasure.

In History we never really learned about America declaring independence, we never read it nor the constitution and try to figure out what they meant and stood for.

Some things like the Holodomor and Mao's food redistribution plans were completed omitted from history books.
--For those who don't know, Holodomor literally translates to: murder by hunger. Stalin did a food redistribution program literally killing 10 million Ukrainians in one year, and making the survivors resort to cannibalism.
--Mao's food redistribution program killed about 75 million Chinese in 4 years, that was 10% of the population at that time.

Although I complain about history being so dark and sad, I do believe history is doomed to repeat itself if the people do not remember the past.

The reason I started to like history was because I started to learn about the American constitution and how things were worded and meant back then.
I was impressed by how the Founding Fathers knew they were imperfect people trying to make something never seen or done before.

So the question still remains, is history important?
How would you convey history if you were to teach it?

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History is very important. It's a way to learn from mistakes of the past.
I will say though, you said you never learned about the Declaration of Independence to me that's a shitty school. From grades 1-12 my schools taught at length about that subject.
Back to the topic. History is negative and positive, sadly more negative. I think negative history is good to keep a real and honest perspective of how the world works. If it was rainbows and unicorns, people would be destroyed when bad things happen.
The only thing that pisses me off is when it become selective History. Yeah Stalin, mao and Hitler were bad people, but they also enlight of the horrendous things they have done, some good things came out of that.
Very important. How can we judge how we are doing today unless we compare ourselves to the past. The depressing parts of history are the most documented after all what gets written about in current affairs texts today - all the good and beautiful things in the world or do they concentrate on what needs changed. Imagine reading todays newspapers 50 years from now, you'd probably assume we were all peadophiles, terrorists and drug addicts.
As for teaching the subject that seems impossible to me, kids simply aren't interested in the past. I know I only started to read about and self educate myself in history as I got older (in my 30s). Something about getting on in years makes it seem more important to know our place in the bigger picture.
Hello. I believe history to be very important.

I understand history as the collective memory of humankind. It sounds a bit cheesy, but if you think about, history remembers our collective events. Our history, whether we like it or not, is paramount to our identity, and defines us as a group, that, when taken to the most broad sense, consists on mankind. History as been used to divide us, but in fact, its very nature pulls us together. That alone accounts for its importance.

However, there are other reasons. As you very well mentioned, history can be a bleak subject. It has to be. Our past is a bleak one. But nonetheless, we have to understand that history, as an academic subject, is an flawed understanding of the past, based on a imperfect record. As the old saying goes, history is written by the victors. But even bleak as it might be, history reminds us of past mistakes, and teaches us that no empire last forever, that no man can become a god, and that for every tyrant, thousands cried for freedom. Yes, history records and remembers countless acts of horror, but it also remembers the brave men and women who opposed them, and as long as we keep remembering them, there is always hope on the future of mankind. For me, that is the most important thing about history.

A little disclaimer: I'm biased on the subject. All my life i studied history. I teach it when i have the chance. I work in ancient history, but if you are interested, PM me and i can send you some links to my work.

Best regards.
History is written only by the victors.

All Comments

The problem with history, as it is taught in schools, is that it's probably a crock of sh*t. Most glaring example: North America, the Native American population. The U.S. school systems teach that the Native American's were few, far between, and usually uncultured by British standards. In truth, before a plague hit the coast and wiped out roughly 90% of the population, it was said that they were so numerous their campfires could be smelled MILES from shore. As well, the British weren't the first to make colonies and visit the Americas. It was vikings. They actually parked a colony in Greenland and made frequent raids on North America for wood, food, and other supplies. Why did they not move farther south and make a colony in North America? Well, they tried, and were VIOLENTLY cast out by the native population, which numbers in the millions. Also, the early colonies that came to North America to settle (you know, after the plague wiped out the majority of the native population) were looked at as "short, smelly and stupid" by the remaining natives, and many of the early colonies failed. Miserably. Plymouth rock was not the first, by any means, but we weren't taught about the others in middle school. Nor were we taught about the cannibalism, starvation, and 'going native' that occurred in the failed colonies. In fact, going native was such a problem many colonies had to post guards to keep people from joining the natives whose lives were infinitely better than the ones they were leading.
So yeah, 'history' can be a rather interesting topic, especially when everyone seems to have a different story to tell.
i wanted to make the quickest answer....
too bad it had to have a third character.... too bad...

Yes, history is very important. You must also be aware that generally the history of wars & conflicts are often written by the victors so tend to be bias. But if we learn from past mistakes the future can only get brighter.biggrin
History is written only by the victors.
Talking about history sucks, but history itself is really interesting
Bring on the next extinction period. Then in a few 100 million years someone else (archaeological historian) can sit and guess what went wrong, then watch the new society do the same thing again. Just love human nature. smile
Indispensable, either we look at it with attention or not. If not we pay the price. If we pay attention to History, a great deal of time we are not far away enough from the events to take good or any considerations, at all.
If we are to far away from the events a considerable amout of people tend to consider that the event did not happen; the Holocaust is one of them. One of the most well documented recent events in the History of Man and a lot of people tend to say it was not like that that happened.
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if i remember it well, germans didn't even have the right to have an army after their defeat in WW1, so I don't know what you mean....
this "get a gun before the government gets you" mentality is a rather typical american point of view (and I'm not saing it's bad, just saying...) as it is a constitutionnal right for US citizen to be armed...

Yes history is incredibly important and the fact that so many schools seem to neglect teaching it is a real shame. We must never forget though that history is written by the victor so we often only ever get one side of the story.

Oh and the American declaration of independence is not the first instance of something like that being done. The most important part of the declaration that declares what rights a person has is based on the British Magna Carta which was written in 1214. (Added to and signed in 1215) In fact the very argument that was made (quite rightly) by the colonists for declaring independence was based upon the notion that the British had broken their own laws by subjecting the colonies to unfair taxation, and by denying the colonists the rights that they had which were laid down in British common law. In essence the British were guilty of putting the desire of one man (the king) above the law and the well being of the people and according to the British law that was based on the Magna Carta, the people have the right to rise up and overthrow their ruler.
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Well it actually did have influence on The Constitution. The idea that law was supreme above even kings or legislative bodies was drafted into the United States Constitution by James Monroe. Not only that, but the Magna Carta influenced the Bill of Rights, specifically the fifth and sixth amendments.
I actually do not think the geographical origins of these ideas are significant; it is the ideas themselves that are important. Whether an idea is first had by an American or an Englishman or one of the ancient Greeks, it is ultimately a part of human nature to wish to be free and to wish for fair treatment, and so ideas like these can be rightly said to be of human origin rather than the creation of any one nation.

When I first started college way back when i invented a belief that those who change history should be charged with a criminal act. History is so muddled we may never know the truth in many instances.

Good too see some truth regarding communism since there are estimates it has killed ~ 900,000,000 people, yet some professors still push that pinko agenda.

One of my favorite books ever is Torrent: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - The Gulag Archipelago
Another favorite is a book called Five Talents or One (I can't find the torrent). It is a somewhat obscure book but does a great job of defining how we may be be born equal concerning rights and liberty, we are not all created equal when it comes to our personal gifts. It does a great job of classifying people as either egalitarians or contesters, the basis for left or right stances. A must read. As with many Russian authors, they have a keen grasp on what freedom really means, more than most Americans who take it for granted.

The author signed that book and sent it to me old gone forever :)~

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