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Why, if at all, is History important to society?

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Introduction

Why, if at all, is History important to society? ?Every human being at every stage of history or pre-history is born into a society and from his earliest years is moulded by that society.?[1] History in turn moulds society creating a sense of national unity. Therefore it can be argued that history is vital to the individual, creating a sense of self and unity with the nation. Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob support this view arguing ?History and historical evidence are so crucial to a people?s sense of identity.?[2] This need for identity and the natural curiosity of humans has led to the development of history and an interest in our past. It is argued by some historians that the past repeats itself. Therefore it is important to study history to prevent mistakes in the past from being repeated, it provides the roots for certain ideas, laws, customs and political ideas. Helping people make sense of how things came to be today and how the past has moulded the present. However it is also seen by some historians that the developing age has changed too dramatically to repeat itself and that ?history does not repeat itself. ...read more.

Middle

They focus on the victories of the nation in history such as in wars and its successes rather than its flaws, failures and mistakes in history. Hitler?s fascism took this to the extreme as he indoctrinated the German people into believing that Nazi Germany was superior to other countries. Fascism also uses history to justify its negative actions. An example of this would be Mussolini?s fascist dictatorship as he used Italy?s previous loss in the war with Abyssinia, over emphasising the humility of it, to declare war again during his reign. Stating that Italy could not fully regain its national pride until the Abyssinians had been defeated. This use and manipulations of history is obviously, very damaging to society. Hobsbawm supports this emphasising the damaging effects ?bad history? can have on society ?Our studies can turn into bomb factories?[16] Marwick argues there is a ?social necessity for history?[17] however Jordanova argues that ?Public history is popular history?[18] suggesting that the history understood by General society many not be entirely truthful but popularised history, history that may ?promote particular interests.?[19] These may be the interests of the government, trying to maintain a position of strength and power or may be the interests of the people, trying to prevent panic. ...read more.

Conclusion

Carr, What is History? Pg. 25 [2] Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth about History. Pg. 5 [3] Max Beerbohm, http://www.activehistory.co.uk/historical_quotations.htm [4] Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth about History. Pg. 1 [5] G.R. Elton, The Practice of History. Pg. 1 [6] Arthur Marwick, The New Nature of History. Pg. 10 [7] John Tosh, The Pursuit of History. Pg. 2 [8] Mark Twain, http://www.activehistory.co.uk/historical_quotations.htm [9] George Orwell, http://www.activehistory.co.uk/historical_quotations.htm [10] Ibid. [11] Eric Hobsbawm, On History. Pg. 6 [12] Ibid. Pg. 6 [13] Arthur Marwick, The New Nature of History, Pg. 31 [14] John Tosh, The Pursuit of History. Pg. 3 [15] Eric Hobsbawm, On History. Pg. 86 [16] Ibid. Pg. 7 [17] Arthur Marwick, The New Nature of History, Pg. xii [18] Ludmilla Jordanova, History in Practice, Pg. 126 [19] Ibid. Pg. 137 [20] Isaiah Berlin, History and Theory, The Concept of Scientific History, Pg. 1 [21] Ludmilla Jordanova, History in Practice, Pg. 193 [22] Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth about History, Pg. 5 [23] Lawrence Stone, History and Post-Modernism, Pg. 217-18 [24] J.H. Plumb, , http://www.activehistory.co.uk/historical_quotations.htm [25] John Tosh, The Pursuit of History. Pg. 3 [26] Ibid. Pg. 3 [27] Arthur Marwick, The New Nature of History, Pg. 32-33 ...read more.

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