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Article Review: The Importance of Studying History


Traditionally, history was a very important science though at first glance it seems as if there is no practical use and necessity to study history. Peter N. Sterns in his article “Why Study History?” discusses this problem and attempts to convince a reader that history is of paramount importance and it is worthy to study.

In order to support his viewpoint he presents his reasons which explain to readers why history should be studied. In fact the author has a large view on history and its role in human life.  On analyzing the problem, Peter N. Sterns reveals the fact that the study of history is important for the human society at large, and for each individual in particular. In other words, the study of history influences an individual and the community he lives in.

Obviously, the author is quite reasonable that makes his article persuasive. In this respect, it should be said that one of the main reasons is the fact that history provides a possibility to study the past that, in its turn, helps better understand people and societies that lived in previous epochs. In such a way, the contemporary people could better understand their origin and their present culture, traditions, socio-economic situation, etc. Moreover, the study of history and the past of human society could help find the identity that is particularly important in the contemporary world overwhelmed by the process of globalization, when the problem of the loss of national identity is particularly significant. Thus, history helps people identify themselves in the world community.

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On the personal level, history helps to develop individuality because it contributes to the study of past experience of different people and provides models of behavior as well as it serves as a source of moral inspiration. Also, history contributes to the development of an individual as a good citizen since the knowledge of historical experience of previous generations creates certain principles building up good citizens.

Jerry Solomon in the article “Why Care About History?” Continues the arguments initiated by Peter N. Sterns and to a certain extent the author agrees with the article discussed above. To put it more precisely, Jerry Solomon also underlines the fact that history is important for the life of every individual since it affects dramatically all people. In fact, the author emphasizes that people often refer to their past experience and learn a lot from history study.

However, there are obvious differences in the views of Jerry Solomon and Peter N. Sterns. Basically, the difference is explained by the dominance of Christian ideology in the views of Jerry Solomon. As the result, the author perceives history as the gift of God. Moreover, Jerry Solomon not simply underlines that God created history but also pays a lot of attention to the fact that Bible contains a lot of historical texts and elements and even Jesus Christ was particularly concerned about history and asks his followers to remember him.

In stark contrast, Peter N. Sterns is basically concerned on social and personal aspects of history and its importance for the society and individual without any religious shadows.

History is important for all societies in the world and western civilization is not an exception. In this respect, James Kurth in his article “Western Civlization: Our Tradition” emphasizes the importance of history for western civilization. In fact, the author attempts to trace the development of history from the ancient times to the present days. In such a way, it is obvious that history study is a source of information and a link between the past and present of western civilization. It is unquestionable fact that history, being started in Greece, conveyed information and sustained identity of representatives of Western civilization in different epochs, including classical culture of ancient worlds, Christian religion, Enlightenment, the Cold War and till the present moment.


Kurth, James. “Western Civlization: Our Tradition”, The Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2003/Spring 2004.
Solomon, Jerry. “Why Care About History?” retrieved June 20, 2006 from http://www.probe.org
Sterns, Peter N. “Why Study History?” retrieved June 20, 2006 from http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/WhyStudyHistory/htm

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