Colonizers and Explorers: Christopher Columbus

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Why Study History
Analysis Of McCullough’s Quote

Context: “We have to know who we were if we’re to know who we are, and where we’re headed…nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. History could have gone off in any number of different directions, in any number of different ways, at any point along the way, just as your own life can. History is something that ought to be taught, read, and encouraged because it’s pleasurable and it’s going to make us better citizens. We have to value what our forebears and our own parents and grandparents did for us or it’s going to slip away…if you don’t care about it, don’t know what it is, don’t know what it’s worth, and aren’t interested in it, you’re going to lose it.” –David McCullough

I believe that in his quote, McCullough covered almost everything that history is: He said that it is all about interpretation. He told us that we are the ones that have influence on the future, because we created the past. He also basically said that we study history so that the knowledge gained by previous generations is preserved, along with their culture. We can also improve upon what we have learned from our studies and become better citizens. For example, by closely examining past events, and flaws in past civilizations and societies, we can use the knowledge we gain to discern similar problems in today’s society, and fix them. In addition to this, by preserving the culture of past generations we are ensuring that we pass on only the most valuable and relevant traditions, while sorting out the unnecessary or irrelevant ones. The way I interpreted McCullough’s words, I think that he is trying to tell us that if we can’t realize our past, and what is happening in the present (and control what is happening now), we will not be able to predict future events and be prepared for the consequences (both good and bad) that will be thrown at us based on the actions we take and the reactions to them. Say that terrorists attack us,...
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