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Why History Is Important

We learn about the past so we don’t repeat other people’s mistakes.

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Do you ever wonder why we study history, why learning about the past is a requirement in school? Studying the ways of our ancestors helps us to understand the mistakes of people in the past, and this can save us from repeating them.

David Rubenstein, author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, talks about the importance of knowing our history. He explains that, unfortunately, many Americans don’t know as much about the past as they should.

The author started holding lessons about six years ago for members of Congress. The representatives, who should know the most about our history (aside from historians), are not immune to forgetting our past achievements and mistakes. Once a month, Rubenstein hosts a dinner at the Library of Congress for members, who can enjoy hearing a lecture from a historian.

Harvard historian and philosopher George Santayana said that people who don’t remember the past will relive it. Some things from history might be better than today, such as cleaner air and simpler times, but who wants to go back to a time before electricity and running water, when even the common cold was deadly?

Generals and commanders study past battles when thinking about their own strategies for the future. Oftentimes, looking back at historic times can provide the answers we need in our own lives.

Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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