The introductions for the topic “what is history”, one written by Edwin Fenton and the
other by Peter N. Stearns each depicts why history is something essential and worth
studying and the significance of history as how events from the past impacts
the behaviour of individuals and changes in society. From the point of view of the
introduction written by Peter N. Stearns on the importance of history, he demonstrates
examples such as how history allows us to understand change and the society we live in
developed, the importance of history in our own lives, and how history contributes to
moral understanding. He provides numerous examples regarding the benefits of history
such as demonstrating how rates of alcoholism from the past allows us to realize
why the variations of rates for alcoholism to change and occur and establishes trends in
alcoholism as how addiction evolved into a social problem. He also signifies how history
can be of great importance in our own lives as discovering the ways people constructed
their ways of life previously contributes to another perspective human life and society.
He also suggests reasons on which why history proves identity, contributes to good
citizenship, and individual skills a student can develop when learning history. Some
examples he presents in his introduction includes encouraging habits of mind which are
vital for responsible public behaviour and how historical data provides a basis for
understanding how a family has interacted with larger social change. Peter N. Stearns’
concluding response to “Why study history?” are to gain human experience, acquiring
useable habits of mind basic data which affects our own lives, the development of
“salable” skills, and the ability of interpretation.
The introduction that Edwin Fenton presents proposes that history is incomplete and
many developments that we desire to know of can never be known....