is a strange science, if one wants to elevate it to such a
level. I find history to be interesting simply
because I find people interesting. In the end, when
all is said and done, history is the study of people,
their behavior, values, likes and dislikes and the
motivations that arise and in turn, influence their
the years I have often been asked why the study of history
is so important. I sometimes think the real question
is, why is it so boring. History is important for
several reasons. First, events occurring today, both
domestically and in foreign affairs, are often times
rooted in events that have taken place in the past.
Prejudices and conflicts sometimes go back several hundred
years, emerging again in ethnic or religious clashes or in
warfare. Understanding the past is a good
starting point in understanding what is happening now.
decision makers, no matter at what level, look to history
in an effort to find similar situations and identify the
decisions made to deal with those situations in a
successful manner. That doesn't mean the decision
maker in question will mimic the decisions of the past.
Personal biases, prejudices and experiences will play an
important role in determining what the response will be in
dealing with the current situation.
to why history can be boring? I suppose if you have
a good instructor it won't be!
below are a number of time periods related to American
history and politics. In each case, accessing a
period will lead to links related to a number of topics or
events relevant to that period. Think critically.
Try to understand the environments in which events took
place and the motivations of the key players. Doing
so will help you to understand not only how our political
system evolved, but why it behaves the way it does.