Professor Gary Grimm
March 10, 2013
History asks "How did things get to be this way?" There is nothing in the world that does not become more intriguing and far more mysterious. Once we recognize the complicated events and causes that led to its creation is when history is understood. At the same time, history also recognizes that there is far more to the past than the events that created the world we know today. History is much more than simply memorizing facts, dates, people, events, and wars. 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 life can. One thing leads to another.
History analyzes the past and assesses the complex web of causes that help explain why particular events and occurrences occur. Also, it often communicates its findings in the form of narratives or stories that make the past come alive. Recognizing what we share with people in the past, while simultaneously exploring how profoundly their lives differed from our own, provides some of history's most fascinating insights (Stearns, 2008). History revels in exploring the diversity of the human experience and how profoundly people have differed in their ideas, institutions, and cultural practices. It helps us understand how experiences have varied by period, nationality, and social circumstances as well as how much they have struggled with each other while occupying a shared world. History seeks to understand past lives and societies by exploring every conceivable aspect of their reality. It takes the entire human experience in all times and places, but does so in ways that pay very close attention to the fine-grained particularities of, and differences among, those times and places (Stearns, 2008).
History also provides ground for moral examination. Studying the stories of individuals and situations in the past allow individuals to test his or...