Why it is important to learn history?, 497 words essay example
If you dont know history then you dont know anything. You are a leaf that doesnt know its a part of a tree. Michael Craton. History is that significant aspect of the past accessible through enquiry by historians, and as such being documented. Arthur (1970) stated that the past shows exactly what happened and every aspect of human behaviour and actions which occurred before us in particular sequences. This discipline also deals with focalism it often anchors us in time, allowing us to weigh heavily on information received in the onset. Given all the demands from the society particular that of financial and economic difficulty why should anyone study or teach history? Why bother with what has been? Isnt it a waste of money? Like any subject area history must be justified. The functions of history often than not seem very difficult to define and bring to the surface as the products of historical data are more abstract than other subject areas. In this day, despite of financial difficulty history should be taught and studied as it helps us to understand people and societies, it contributes to moral understanding, provides identity, its essential for good citizenship and it aids in nurturing skills in students and teachers.
Closely associated with history is the concept of identity. Knowing ones identity and being able to identify such is a focal point, as loss of identity basically aids in loss of significance. Who are you? Where did you come from? If one cannot answer these questions, there is little to no meaning and purpose to life. Stated by Southgate (1996), history is the memories of the things of the past of supreme importance in maintaining a sense of identity. History provides identity as historical data includes evidence about how families and institutions were formed thus explaining how they retained their composure. Southgate argues the need for identity as it applies to nations as well as individuals. When it comes to individual identity, history provides facts about genealogy and how the family has interacted in the past, here the familys identity would be confirmed. In terms of identity history lays the foundation for good citizenship.
History can be used to promote an individuals loyalty to their society thus bringing awareness to the nations identity. The nations identity can be brought about and highlighted through historical socialization. Once this is embedded citizens are given information about how the said country was discovered, colonized, how its independence was derived and information could be presented about its national symbols. Emphasis could be placed on the rights of citizens thereof and initially who fought for these rights within that country. As such teaching or studying history can be seen as a necessity as national identity is instilled, whether as an eligible voter, future politician or an even an observer. A nationalistic spirit will evolve into good citizenship as persons would now be aware of the journey it took for the said country to be what is it today.
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