What is history?

Quick – when you think about the study of history, what does that mean to you?

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47 comments on “What is history?

  1. Alexander Ip says:

    To me, history itself is not just the study of the past, but rather patterns of human nature. The study of history is learning from this pattern of human nature, along with learning about where we came from and how we have advanced ourselves. Because of the study of history we are able to learn from past mistakes, and try to prevent these same mistakes from happening.

  2. Mehreen Naghmi says:

    History shows us how much we have grown. Looking back, people acted completely different from how we act today. In the past, women were not treated equal. They were not given voting rights and they were forced to stay home. However today, women have full voting rights and are free to do anything they wish. We have also improved in the many things we do every day such as communicating with each other. It used to be that you would have to write a letter to a person who lived far away from you just to talk to them. Now we can talk to anybody, anywhere by calling them on a phone or sending a simple text message. To me, the study of history is learning about our past and realizing how much we have changed.

  3. Nisha Kapani says:

    The study of history is more than just learning about the interactions between humans & nature; more than just learning about how we as humans have evolved. It is finding the answers to the simple questions we ask ourselves. Why are we here? What is our purpose as humans? Who has created us? History is divulging into the mysteries that are still to be unfolded. History is the past, dating from the beginning of time, or simply going back an hour. We all can learn from the mistakes made as well as the brilliant deeds that were made through time. Although we are told over & over again about these mistakes, somehow, history always finds a way to repeat itself. For example, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska & now the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
    After all, history is of course, “his story”. (:

  4. Tyler Briese says:

    well in my personal opinion history is how humans and nature have grown over many millions of years. History is all of the actions that happened in the past. The reason i believe we study history is to see how we as humans advanced in society and how we are now learning from mistakes we made 1,000,000 years ago or a day ago. History is basically a record that states everything that has happened over time. From the day earth was made to a second ago is all history. That is what history is.

  5. Brittany Ward says:

    To me history is the study of the past, and learning from all the mistakes people made in the past, and knowing that it’s now our job to help fix it and not make the same mistakes. The point of having a history is for people from that period to tell or write down what happened or what was significant so we can remember it in the future. Along with learning it’s us changing and making our own history as we go so that others can make something of it. That’s what the study of history to me is.

  6. Danielle Roques says:

    History is not only the study of the past but is also a foresight as to what will come. It acts as a lesson, a model, and a prediction for mankind today.

    “Those who are unaware of history are destined to repeat it.” -George Santayana
    Although the quote is quite cliche, in essence it is very factual. There is no possible way to “learn from our mistakes” if we do not know what our original faults were. History is not only about learning from our mistakes, though, but is also about learning from our triumphs. By looking back through records, we as a human population can tell what has been successful and what hasn’t. Knowing these simple facts gives us insight as to what to do today, tomorrow, and in the future.

    “Look back to where you have been, for a clue as to where you are” -Unknown
    Today, many of us are concerned as to the direction that we as a people are heading. If we could use what has happened in the past as a reference to help write our future, imagine what this world could become.

    “You can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” -Unknown
    Although it is impossible to know where we are headed in this everchanging world, by looking at our history we can chart a “line of best fit” (sorry for getting into mathematical terms!) for our history; if we get off of the line a little, well, that is expected. But as long as we have history to help make us a faint path as to what is to come, we are sure to make it through.

  7. Emily Swope says:

    I think history is not just the study of the past but also what we can learn from it. History involves remembering names, but also analyzing decisions. If we think about the choices the people of the past made and how they impacted their time, maybe we can make better decisions for our time. Another form of this is realizing where we came from as a civilization and how to keep going in the direction we want, instead of maybe making the mistake of a past civilization and veering onto the wrong path. So, to me, history is not only knowing what happened in the past, but using that knowledge to better ourselves.

  8. Christina Ryan says:

    History is a tool we use to determine the next step for our future. It shows us everything that we have done, everything that has happened to us and to our environment. History makes us think about the next step; how can we be better than we were yesterday? It shows us our mistakes and looking back on them, we can determine what went wrong and how we can improve that plan in order to get to our desired location in life. We can’t get where we want to be without making a few wrong turns and history shows us where we shouldn’t go again. It helps us narrow down options and cancel out bad decisions. History shows us how much we have grown as a race, and more importantly, how far we need to go to be great.

  9. Ashleigh Stratton says:

    The study of history, in my personal opinion, means not only the study of interacting patterns between humans and the environment, but also between international empires and nations. It could also mean how we as a people have changed over the course of years and how the world is changing and developing. History is how cultures come to be and how languages develop and how technology grows and communication increases. History is important and if not learned, we could not see the impact of major decisions on the way we live our lives.

  10. Abhishek Mathews says:

    Studying history gives us a past to look on. We, as humans, make mistakes and, most of the time need an example to do what is right. If we study history then this provides for us an example that actually happened. When I say this it reminds me of when my dad says, “If you don’t know history then you are bound to repeat it.”
    History, just on the surface, is interesting, but when you delve into it, history takes on many different cultures, languages. and faces. History is also the interactions between people, animals, objects, and nature itself.
    To me history means changes, sacrifices, and fighting. All these things contributed to what we have today. History is the basis of our lives and must not be destroyed or forgotten. That is why we study history.

  11. Jennifer Kim says:

    In my opinion history is our past in which we learn from today. It is important that we study this past in order to prevent making the same mistakes we may have once made before. History is also something that we can develop from. Using the information that we have from history, we are able to evolve and increase our knowledge. What we have done and learned from in our past shapes our future; it is the guidance to our actions, so it is crucial to study and understand it. History is something people have to carefully analyze and understand in order to move forward in the present.

  12. Sam Needham says:

    History, by definition, is the study of the human past. I agree with that statement, but I believe that it is also much more – how people in the past interacted with their environments, analyzing historical patterns, and learning about how they dealt with problems that we still face today. Learning history means learning about life. Whether you lived in 1610 or 1910, basic human issues stay the same. Learning about history means learning from people’s mistakes in the past, which help you make the right decisions in the present.

  13. Austin Neo says:

    To me, history is the study of the past to learn about the worlds before us and what the world may become. It’s the study earlier people, their cultures, and how they’ve impacted the world as a result of their actions. The study of history is a quest that allows us to satisfy the questions of where we came from, and how we got here. It lets us make infereces about people from the tools they used to the places the lived in. And it gives us a sense of who we are.

  14. Emily Tourtellott says:

    History serves us as a guide and model for the future. History is known to repeat itself in both good ways and bad. There are many events in history that teach us lessons so that we know to take precautions to make sure that they do not happen again in modern times. We have an idea on what could happen in the future based on events that happened in the past. Learning about our history makes us mature as people, preventing us from making rash decisions that can have distastrous results. Because we have history to look back on, we can advance human civilization by making wise decisions that benefit us as a whole.

  15. Rose Yim says:

    Studying history is much more than memorizing events from a textbook. It means that you are taking something from the past and learning as much as you can about it, from beginning to end. History is the story of every accomplishment, failure, and disaster from our past. Every little bit of our past has largely impacted our lives and shaped our future. We learn from our mistakes and educate ourselves using our past. A teacher of mine had once told me something that I could not agree more about, “History is a long, continuous story.” Unless every existing being were to die, nothing can stop history from happening. Therefore, as long as we live, we will always be able to study history.

  16. Iris Ahn says:

    History is not only about our past; it shapes our future. It shows us what had happened over the years and what may happen again. Therefore, it is important that we learn from previous mistakes. However, these mistakes should not always be looked at as bad things. Without the events that have occurred in history we would not be as advanced or intelligent as we are, nor would we be able to bring ourselves to a better future. History can hold a key to our future and help us build a better road ahead of us.

  17. Cindy Mao says:

    In my opinion, history is the study of the past and something that we will live through for the rest of ours lives. History, is a study, but also a big book that will help us in the future and record important specific happenings that has occurred.For example, September 11,2001 when terrorists attacked the Pentagon it was put in the book of our history. History shows the world that from the past our world has gone through a big change. The first colored president has been elected too serve citizens and religions such as as Christianity have grown throughout the world. History is a book, a study and most importantly what we will live through forever.

  18. Michael "Ross" Smith says:

    History shows us what we have accomplished and what we haven’t. It’s like trying to put people’s learning from as far back as prehistoric times into ours not only from factual learning such as science and math, but mistakes people may have made ex. The Holocaust. Even things that are outdated such as the Earth being flat are helpful because it showed the way we thought and fought. In a century or two (assuming 2012 isn’t true) people may look back on this time thinking “Why did they fight like that among themselves?” or “THE WORLD WASN’T GOING TO END IN TWENTY TWELVE? WHAT MADE THEM THINK THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!” and then they’ll see facebook…

  19. Susie Lee says:

    I have never been asked “what is history to you?”
    So at first I was like, “pshh, history is just a subject i’m required to take in school. There’s nothing more to it.” But, after some deep thinking, I decided that History is MORE than that. It is the study of our past and how to learn to make our futures better, brighter.
    History isn’t something that just goes away. It stays with us forever and we can always look back and further our knowledge of it. It’s like the ‘life&experience’ of the world or the human race.
    By learning history, we know all our faults and we can work to never let the “fault” happen again; But we also learn our accomplishments and work to make those accomplishments even better.

  20. Alex Abedi says:

    Well, Ms. H.
    Upon reading this post.
    Your question had never crossed my mind.
    Well, I suppose history is the guidelines to the future.
    So, to me, the study of history is away to help us by using past events to insure a better future.

  21. Nick Adamonis says:

    well to me the study of history is to better under stand the past, the people and costumes of the time. if can better under stand the past then you can make better choices in the future

  22. Kevin Chung says:

    To me, history isn’t just a subject in school, it is something that stays in our world for a long time if not forever. Especially now with our ability to publish thousands of books. You can make, change, and possibly even destroy history. It is almost like a huge picture book, with plenty of memories and we can use it to change certain things and learn from our mistakes in the past.

  23. Tyler Lam says:

    To me, the study of history is studying events, artifacts, and places from the past. Not just the cold, hard, facts (although they are important) but the interactions between people, cultures, and civilizations. Studying why decisions were made, why events happened, and how it impacted everything else. It is also studying mistakes that were made in the past, so that we don’t repeat them in the future.

  24. Patrick Hulse says:

    I think that history is realizing how far we’ve come so we can figure out where we might go next. It’s about appreciating the past and looking toward the future. History helps us answer a lot of the “why?” questions in life. Without it we wouldn’t know where we came from and how we got here. It also helps us see how all of us are alike even groups of people who live thousands of miles away or millions of years ago.

  25. Harout Boujakjian says:

    In my opinion, history is the guideline to our society. Whatever we do will be put into the books and read by others days, years or even centuries later. How we act will impact what the future will be like. History is whatever you want it to be because you will create it.

  26. michael pham says:

    History is all of the things that have happen before us regardless of when it happens, a second go ago or a century. We learn from our past to learn more about us in the future. To build a more of a better future, we need to learn more about our past, to not repeat any of our mistakes again. History is a book in where we can look into the past to learn about anything that has happen before and after we die, and we become a part of history.

  27. Erin Shoaf says:

    What do I think the study of history is? I think history is the study of our past. That much is obvious. We can learn who we were and where we came from by studying the ancient world. We should learn from the mistakes that the human race has made before us to better ourselves in the future. That’s what history is for: to learn all the things that our ancestors worked so hard to accomplish. We should appreciate what they did and build upon it as well.
    People die. It’s a sad truth. I think most people want to be remembered after they die, I least I do. That is what we are doing by studying history, we are honoring our ancestors wish to be remembered. If we do not study our history we cannot embrace our future because without our history we are nothing. Learning from our past mistakes and accomplishments is what I think the study of history is.
    By learning our history we are learning about the people around us. The more you learn about people, the more you come to understand them and love them. The world’s problems stem from a misunderstanding. By learning history we can eliminate that misunderstanding and inch closer towards an acceptance of a person’s religion, way of dress, thinking and all around fascinating culture. There is not only one way to live, we learn that by studying history.
    I know all this is a little broad to come from the little question: What is history? But this is what comes to mind when I think about what history means to me. I’m pulling from personal experience; the more I learn about a person’s past the more I come to accept them. I’m not perfect, but I do try. The past is history, being it the world’s past or an individual person’s past. It’s all history. I would think that could be applied to an overall basis. All this is what history is to me.

  28. nicole bracci says:

    History is many different things, but to me it is discovering events of the past. Your goal is to find out when and where life started, and then advance from there. We study how life evolved into many different cultures, and from there how those cultures created government. Government is a characteristic of a civilization. There are many different types of government; Democracy, Tyranny, Dictatorship, Oligarchy, and those are just to name a few. As cultures evolve, governments change. When you study a government you find the leader of the civilization. Once that is established, you are able to compare and contrast opposing civilizations. You will find out that there were wars between countries that could of lasted for years on end. History is something that will never end, because every day we are making history. History is also learning from past events, realizing what actions have been beneficial and which have been chaotic. The only way to not repeat the mistakes from the past is to learn from them.

  29. Kazi Ahmed says:

    I think that history shows how far we have come as a race. Since the beginning of time, people never settled for what they had; they always strived for more. This is why there is so much innovation in our past. History shows us how people gained knowledge in all areas of life, including religion, politics, and the arts. They then used this knowledge to improve their lives, and the lives of those around them. If we didn’t have the knowledge of our past, we would never be able to build on it for a better future.

  30. Connor Shaffer says:

    History is about spreading knowledge about past times all over the world. Without history the youth of the world wouldn’t know why the Revolutionary war took place or even how the statue of liberty came about. This is the knowledge that gives us reason to do what we do in our everyday lives given that history pertains to how the United States became a free country. This is the knowledge that allows us to know how we are now able to apply for a job. History is the essence of how and why were in the place we are today. Historians all over the world uncover the facts of life before time and how we came about sitting in history class in the year 2010. Without History we would all be clueless on how to build a brighter future because we wouldn’t have any knowledge of the past.

  31. Christine Woodyard says:

    History can mean so many things. But history to me means important people and events in the past or future that have/will made some impact on our society as it is today. They could be events like a war, an new technology, a new idea. Or they could be as simple as in 2010 high schoolers go to school for six hours a day. These are all history to me because when people from the future look at these events or facts they will learn something about the past. Maybe they go to school for four hours instead of six, or they learn about how the type writer slowly became a computer. Any of these thing are events of ideas that happened before their time, but without, they would have or be what they are in that day.

  32. Ziab Kabir says:

    History is the story of man. It is being written and read everyday by anybody and everybody. It’s how we learn about the past to build the foundation for our future. It’s how we understand the mistakes of the generations before in hopes of creating a world we can all benefit from. It’s how people push to that extra step to become part of history. The thing is we all influence the future in some way by how we act and the things we do, whether you like it or not. To me, that is history.

  33. Mark Gavino says:

    History is everything, and everyone’s past, present, and future. It is the hardships and golden ages of civilizations across the globe. History is written even involuntarily. A fossil could tell you that an insect had lived long ago, but it could also tell you much more such as what kind of animals lived in a certain location, which could infer other types of animals that this one interacted with. People have made mistakes and advances in history, to learn or benefit from for the future and the good of the people. It is an influence of what is to come and what should be done with the world. People have learned battle strategies, political thought, and learned some about some unknown family ties through history. By documenting and recording people’s lives or their doings, the people of today and the future will learn and grow from what has already been done. History can never be the past, but it can also be the present, and the future.

  34. Vincent DeLaurentis says:

    History to me is the study of how ideas, concepts, and problem solving skills learned in past events and conflicts can be used to solve problems today. History and what we learn from it is the greatest is the greatest guide to interacting with the people and world around you. Using concepts learned from local historical happenings, one can learn to undestand and deal with problems occuring on a global level. Even if you never have to deal with a major global problem in your lifetime, the ability to deal with one will make you a more productive mediator, voter, friend, and family member. Without history, the human race would be caught in an endless cycle of war, disease, and conflicty (one worse than the one human’s are inevitably drawn to). History is the greatest ambassador of understanding. Without the lessons that history has taught us, we would have no United Nations, no ACLU, and no Red Cross. History will always be here to help us to learn and grow as a race, a nation, a town, and a person.

  35. Michael Berghold says:

    I think that history is simply the occurance of all things. I dont think we can narrow it down any further because we would be taking out so many things. We apply ourselves in different ways to study history, learn from history, and use history to help solve problems. Something as insignificant as a fallen acorn may seem unimportant in our eyes, but i believe it is just as much history as anything else.

  36. Desniq Campbell says:

    History to me is the discovery and study of new ideas and thoughts around our world. History helps us understand our past but also helps us to better understand our future. We can use it to improve how we act now based on the events that happened in the past. Also as we live our lives, we make mistakes that we use to bnetter the near future.

  37. Cassidy Gross says:

    History to me is things that happen in the past that we remember and learn from. Or at least that we should learn from. History is important for us to learn because it shows us the mistakes we have made in the past and helps us learn from them. If we know what consequences have come from certain actions in the past, we have the ability to stop ourselves from repeating those mistakes.

  38. Mitchell Hayes says:

    I think history is the study of our past since the beginning of time. It occurs naturally every day, but history is also driven by the actions of humans. History helps us to solve the mysteries of life and it answers questions that people have had for thousands of years. We need to use history and learn from our mistakes. It is important that we continue to study history and learn why events have occurred in the past. We should use the information to then understand if certain events will happen again. Without history, the world would be a much more uncivilized place.

  39. Shadid Sayed says:

    I believe the study of history is not only done to enrich our knowledge for the sake of learning, but to also develop modern societies and avoid the pitfalls earlier civilizations had fallen into. For example, although our current society may not be all too relevant with very ancient civilizations, we can look back on the past 100-200 years and improve ourselves more effectively because of the short amount of time that has lapsed in between. If one were to look at the trend of how technology and politics are effecting our life, it can be said that the effect is growing exponentially, compared to one thousand years back. Overall, to me, history is much more than its literal definition. By utilizing ideas, and assimilating older concepts, we are able to progress not as by independent civilizations, but as humanity.

  40. Jesle Choi says:

    To some people, history might be a time or place to memorize. Or the relationship between humans and mother nature. But actually its something even more deeper. Its what happened at that time and place and its the changes between us and mother nature that makes us who we are and what we are. History is change. Good, or bad its what changed to become “today”. We learn from our mistakes and we accomplish what we can accomplish. As a christian, I believe that everything in history relates back to God. Whether you believe in him or not history is “his” “story”

  41. Olivia Nelson says:

    History, in simple terms, is the past. It started at the beginning of time and is categorized into different periods. History shows us the ways of early humans and how their interactions led to new ideas. These ideas went on to shape how we live today. Everything came from something, and history can show us how these ‘things’ came to be. Not everything in history had a positive outcome. Over time, we have learned from the mistakes and will continue to learn from history until the end of time.

  42. Emily Costigan says:

    Someone once said that “history repeats itself”. To me, history is a series of past patterns that can be used to correct present mistakes and prepare for future events. True, many things have changed over the millenia (we’ve come along way from lighting fires with sticks and stones), but many of those changes come from building on the solutions to recurring problems from long ago. For example, a problem was that books were expensive and rare, so few people owned them and had access to the information in them. The solution? Johannes Gutenberg made the printing press, and as a result, books were easier to make and easier to come by, also making information easier to get. In more recent times, someone was able to look back at that problem and solution and build on it… by making search engines on the internet. However, the fact remains that the solution and improved version stem from a similar desire to make information more accesible. By using history, we can look at problems that repeated in the past and create new and better solutions when similar problems return. We can also study the issues in the past to prevent that certain thing from repeating itself by looking at it’s causes.

  43. Brynna Morgan says:

    The basic definition of history is a compilation of recorded data and events that have occurred in the past. History helps us to learn about specific events, past civilizations, people and any topic that has already happened. History is very important not only to historians but to anyone who is interested in learning about a particular subject. It can be especially valuable to world leaders. If they will, leaders can look back on past events and know how to solve problems before they happen by looking at the history. Sometimes the only reason we know what to do in a situation is by examining historical records. Like George Santayana once famously said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. If we don’t consider history when trying to assess a situation, there’s a good chance that we can make the same mistakes again. History is invaluable to us all.

  44. michael chaitovitz says:

    Many things come to mind when you think of the word history, Old junk in the attic, grandparents, etc. To me history means much more then just old things or events that happened decades before I was born. History helps us learn from our mistakes, it shows how the human race has has overcome the major obstacles in order to survive. History also has a negative side, but that’s where learning from our mistakes come in. For example after the revolutionary war George Washington was asked to be king of America he refused, for the reason that he did not believe that a nation should be ruled by one man but by the people. He had learned from the oppression and monarchy in England and did not want America to make that same mistake. Henceforth our democratic form of government. The knowledge of our past is the key to succeeding in the future.

  45. Taylor Jackson says:

    When i think of history, the first thing that comes to mind is people. Every organism on the planet, and every planet in the universe, have their own history. But the history that is relative to me, is the history of people. Everything that we study, is about the world that we inhabit, and how it has changed as people have evolved. History is the story of how the human race has gotten to where it is today. Every event that has taken place amongst people and the world that they have created, is a part of history. It’s the record of the mistakes, the triumphs, and the evolution of people. From the beginning, when people were nomadic living in hunter-gatherer societies, People have been striving to further improve and develop their culture and their society. Government has changed radically since the beginning of the human race, as well as economics and technology. History allows us to see the mistakes that, as humans, we have made. We take what we have learned and we strive to make the future better. Every battle and war, has been fought because both sides have thought they knew the best way. That they knew how to further themselves. This is because everyone works to improve so that tomorrow can be better than today. To me, that is history. The story of the human race, and how they have grown.

  46. Zaid Younossi says:

    I view the study of history as a way to learn from the mistakes people have made in the past. I also believe that life goes through cycles, and looking back into history is a good way to see how some things may turn out and what may follow it in the future.

  47. […] What is history? May 2010 46 comments 4 […]

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