The What and Why of History

An essay for History of American People to 1877

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As schoolkids were are force-fed history in the large textbooks, they make us memorize dates and the people involved in that exact history we are being taught. The books alone scare the students, we know that we have to learn it all, memorize it, and keep notes so that on the final exam we can pass the class that frankly bores us all to tears. Sure some of the students love it, it is exciting, but the way it is taught can leave any student feeling overwhelmed by having to remember all those dates and people just to pass the class.

But that isn’t history, that isn’t how it should be taught and that isn’t what helps us learn about it. Of course, we don’t know about this until we arrive at college or even doing our own research on the history of the world. We see that it can be much more inviting and helpful than being stuck reading boring books that are forcing us to know history in how the school systems are told to teach it.

However, that isn’t what history is about. It isn’t about just dates and people. There is so much more to it, there are things that you can’t get from those textbooks or even documentaries that you watch on the history channel, though those are great starting grounds to learning what you might want to research more.

Being a Psychology major teaches you to look deeper into people, to know the why and the what, and how. History also helps in Psychology, you need to know the past to help the future. Knowing why things happened as they did can help people know how to better combat themselves to be the change in the world or just for themselves. Understanding why a certain event in history happened and is affecting someone can help cure them or give them the steps to live a better life.

Though I have always been fascinated with history, I know that I wasn’t always looking at the What and Why of it all. I was looking just at the recorded facts and not looking deeper. However, I know that to really grasp the effects history had on people as a whole I need to look deeper, to look about the what and why of it all. Psychology has taught me that much and I know moving forward in learning about History I can look deeper, see the what and the why. I can help others as I learn about how things were and why they were that way.

It is all a process, anything you learn is subjective and very bias to who is teaching it to you; be it through books, classes, documentaries, or any media that you use to learn about it. Always have an open mind, dig deeper, and do the research that is needed to fully grasp the history that you are learning about. This is a tool in life and a tool in schooling, it will help you to better grasp the ideas and events that took place. The people that created that history and those who shaped it.

History isn’t boring, it isn’t something that should be force-fed, it should be fun to learn, fun to talk about, and also something to help yourself better who you are.



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