Unlike engineers and doctors, historians don’t perform heart transplants, improve highway design, or arrest criminals. Yet, we expect our education to be useful. While the products of history study may be less tangible than those of engineering and medicine, they are nonetheless essential. Here are three reasons why we should spend time learning about history:
History is more subjective than the sciences. Because it deals with human values, historical evidence is often incomplete, fragmentary, and imperfect. Inaccurate evidence can result in conflicting conclusions, but gradually agreed upon knowledge emerges in high-quality textbooks. History writers, however, often see themselves as moral giants, media figures, and individual intellectual titans, which they are not. They glory in their subjectivity. But in reality, the process of interpreting the past is the key to understanding the world.
History studies the past. Historians use historical evidence to understand the past and present. This knowledge helps us understand the world we live in today and in the future. In addition to studying our past, historians also preserve the memory of our past. Using the memories of the past, we can better understand today and plan for tomorrow. And it helps us understand ourselves and our society. So, how do historians learn about history? They use written records from the period of time they study.
Primary sources: When students study history through primary sources, they are exposed to important concepts that textbooks can’t adequately convey. For instance, students who read primary sources begin to understand that historical accounts are not objective, and they become more analytical. And these documents are often more interesting than textbooks because students can touch the lives of the people who lived there. If a student is reading a biography, for example, he can read a survey that measures public opinion about the war. Likewise, a student can read an interview that interviews a WWII veteran, and see how their responses to the war were received.
Many disciplines have their own ways of studying history. Some are devoted to the study of the past and the present, including palaeography, economic history, and the study of ancient texts. Others focus on social change throughout history. And a few of these are more obscure than others. For example, there is an area of history called “Atlantic history,” which examines life on the sea. Another one is “contemporary history,” which studies recent historical events, and a branch of history known as counterfactual history, which studies the outcomes of events under different causal conditions.
History is an important part of our society, but it can be confusing. While some people believe history is simply a collection of events, historians must take a more critical approach. By examining primary source materials, historians can uncover the real causes of events. And their interpretations often differ from other scholars’. That’s why it’s so important to understand the subject thoroughly. This way, history will be more interesting for everyone. And, it will help you to make a better decision about what kind of history to study.