Last modified on July 30, 2010, at 07:11

Debate:Does History Matter?

Henry Ford said, "I don't know much about history, and I wouldn't give a nickel for all the history in the world. History is more or less bunk. It is tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's [darn] is the history we make today." George Santayana said "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Who was closer to being right?

Henry Ford: "history is bunk"

If "...the only history that is worth a tinker's [darn] is the history we make today", than who's to say the history we make today will be cared about by our children? ;-). If we don't care about history now, than none of our descendants will care about us. Of course even if we do care about history, there's still a huge chance they still won't care about their past. --Ymmotrojam 18:22, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

I say let the govrnment take the history books and make their own history, then preach it to us Albobsman 13:03, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

I feel it is relevant to note that Henry Ford was a Nazi.

Actually, Henry Ford was a Nazi sympathizer but not an actual Nazi. Also, the quote is "history is more or less bunk." Just FYI. Pecant 20:45, 15 June 2008 (EDT)

George Santayana: "condemned to repeat"

The perfect example of this is the nation of Israel. Fortunately though, we've got a good God. Even when Israel was disobeying God and repenting again... over and over again, God was still faithful to His promises. And if we repent and put our trust in Him alone, we can avoid repeating those bad things in history. --Ymmotrojam 18:35, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

Napoleon Bonaparte: "a lie agreed upon"

While this is the classic Wikipedia model, I hope Conservapedia can avoid being condemned to repeat this bunk. RobS 16:36, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

"Vulgas vult decepi" -Phaedrus 15BC-50AD. Translated as "The people wish to be deceived."--Roopilots6 10:40, 3 June 2007 (EDT)

Other Perspectives

If history doesn't matter, why don't we just make it so this wiki no longer stores the history of the pages that are created and edited ;-). --Ymmotrojam 18:30, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

Who is this guy above?...what a joker :) my point is this: History is a thing of the past hahahahahaha...seriously though, history is important and I think that if history is discarded then we not only remove the career option of archeologists etc, but also, people who have done great and brave things will be discarded also and things like the Holocaust should certainly not be forgotten as we must recognise this as a very terrible time. What about things like the 'Tower of Freedom' and its purpose of marking the dreadful day of the terror attack on the Twin Towers...are we really going to discard that...are we going to discard the Somme, D-Day, Napoleon, Stalin, The Beatles, yes The Beatles were a rock group but they have had a massive impact on the world...think about it, Liverpool firmly on the map, Strawberry Fields...Penny Lane...yes, an impact they have made. Also, to prevent disasters from happening such as the Mnt St Helens eruption, many lives could have been saved if only someone had looked at historical records of this volcanoe's previous eruptions and how they have occured and what happpened during the eruption. History is important in court cases and such if something has just been uncovered even though it may have happened decades ago. Are we able to discard history should be the question and the only answer to that is simple...NO!!! [User: bealecr] 16:09, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Nobody cares about history

Hell, look at Afghanistan. You can go back to the 1700s or 1980s to see that nobody can win there. Or, re Iraq, you can go back to the 1970s and Vietnam and see that you can't "liberate" a country that (with substantial justification in both cases) sees you simply as a self-interested neo-colonial oppressor.

Or you can just go to the local library, fire up the microfiche machine and look at the past 50 years of gun crime in the US. At least Australian Prime Minister John Howard outlawed assault rifles after Martin Bryant massacred all those people in Port Arthur in 1996.

What's the next blast from the past we can look forward to from the US? Witch burnings, perhaps, or simply some good, old-fashioned lynchings (though they'd be Mexican illegal immigrants this time, no doubt). Perhaps California, Oregon and New York should secede. --AppalledBystander 06:29, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

What does it mean to "win" in Afghanistan? RobS 11:48, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
I think he means essentially "conquer". Obviously, if no outside country can "win", the Afghanis must be "winning" the wars of invasion/colonization/conquest etc. Human 13:27, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
If that's the meaning, then the basic premise is flawed. The US and NATO are not trying ot "conquer" Afghanistan. RobS 15:15, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
Afghan history shows that any try from outside to conquer the country by military finally failed completely. Some success can definitely be reported regarding humanitarian support and building up basic infra structure, which surely needs protection through police forces and sometimes even military forces. Surely no perfect story and still much left to be done. The economy, i.e. farming is still mainly based on opium poppy. But even when slow, some progress has definitely been achieved. The number of children going to school sky rocketed, the number of girls in particular. So, history can teach you a lesson, but it cannot replace your own thinking. --schifra 07:40, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Everything matters

How will you know where your going unless you know where you've been. Archaeological history, the history of the sun, moon, earth, ...etc. How else could people plan for the future unless they knew the history of the past. Which is why any historian worth their salt will get their information from multiple sources, archaeological artifacts and/or sites, and anthropological studies. History most definitely doesn't mean anything to those who try to rewrite it for selfish reasons. Such as political or assorted ideological purposes and used as propaganda to further their own agendas. Of which you will no doubt denote many examples of on this debate subject.--Roopilots6 20:10, 25 April 2007 (EDT)


We can learn from it.

Only from America could this question arise.

  - of course context matters
  - and of course we can learn from those who have gone before us

Mate...I totally agree!! In America, history is important too. Example: If someone had bothered to look at the history of Mnt. St. Helens' eruption, they would've realised that it will blow sideways. If they had but checked this, then many more lives would've been saved. I can't believe that apparently nobody cares about their history, about the sacrifices people made so that we could be alive today. Just less than 100 years ago and again in 1939, thousands of brave men risked it all, laid down their lives so that we may speak English that we would retain our cultures, our pride, even so that we may live today and I'm sure they didn't do all this so that some idiot could say that they didn't care about history. Whoever that was is an ignorant pig and no I don't think that this view about the person is without evidence. I truly can not believe that someone thinks it appropriate to not recognise the importance of history, as history has shaped us, shaped whole cultures, whole countries, shaped the entire world.

History *does* matter.

There are things in history that should NEVER EVER be forgotten. If "history does not matter", this technically would encompass things such as the second world war, or the reasons that lead to it; also forgotten would be the sacrifices millions of people made during that war, and all the inhumane atrocities carried out by people of those times: Nazi Germany┬┤s horrifying human experiments, the Japanese-carried out atrocities in China, Soviet Russia and all the "good" their communist ideals did to the world, or the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Actually, "history" would technically encompass even the events of the Bible.

Still some of you dare say "History does not matter?" FreakyM 07:22, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Coming in contact with other cultures one will notice a lot of differences. Which way is right is often a moot discussion, in particular when neglecting the historical background of these differences.History matters because we can learn from the mistakes that the world has made and use it to our benefit.


As Winston Churchill said, "If we do not study history we are doomed to repeat it". Also from a Christian's perspective, we can learn about God's grace, sovereignty, etc. from history, and it helps us understand other cultures and religions. Mschel 11:25, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

NEVER FORGET. Seriously though, history is crucial to morality and civilisation - but only so long as it is accurate. So many conflicts in the world today could be resolved if only people had access to unfiltered accounts of their people's histories, as both victims and aggressors. When it becomes warped and distorted to suit an ideology, revisionist history can be every bit as poisonous as organised religion. Underscoreb 22:01, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Yes history matters. Knowledge of one's own nation is very important. It is very important to realize though that history took place in a different place, and often times the tale from history that is widely disseminated is only a superficial recounting that leaves out many things that the historian does not agree with. For instance many people know that during Washington's farewell address he warned the nation to stay away from entangling foreign relations. In fact political parties have been created around this principal. But what is less well known is that he also warned about the dangers of political parties. So history is important, but so is actually researching the information yourself and not taking another person's word for it. Rellik 20:02, 13 March 2008

"Thus says the Lord: 'Stand by the roads, and look. and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.'" - Jeremiah 6:16 We should study history because if we don't know why we have the freedoms we have, we will not realize what is at stake when those freedoms are threatened. AJ4JQ 11:29, 26 March 2010 (EDT)

Short answer, yes - see future(EDT)


If history matters its only because geography made it so. History and Geography/Geology invariably linked. Look at any historical event or any current event.

The city of Venice, founded in a swampy marsh because Milanese (descendent's of Romans) were being attacked by barbarians. Found the marsh easily defensible.
Discover of America, Columbus searching for a quick way to Asia
Liberation of Kuwait 1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait seizing (then)25% of the worlds oil reserves.
California, population quickly surged because of the Gold Rush, spawning statehood, more general westward expansion and a Trans-Atlantic railroad.
The state of Utah, Mormons chased out of Missouri, settled at an 'oasis in the desert', would have likely been chased out of California.

People who don't know history don't know geography either, both are important even though their effects are so large they are not entirely self evident with regard to the daily lives of individuals.--Mitrebox 19:11, 26 January 2008 (EST)

We Are History

History is everything, and everything will become history. Without history, you know nothing. Those who control the past control the present. Those who control the present, control the future. It is for prcisely these resons that US power is waning, for there is no in depth understanding of world history, not in terms of facts, but in terms of applying the lessons of history to the present situation. --Krysg 19:15, 28 November 2008 (EST)

The History of a People is a Macrocosm of the History of the Person

A person with amnesia lives a disabled life. He is constantly re-learning what he has forgotten. A people that forgets its history, indeed, is disabled. It is constantly re-learning what it has forgotten. On that note, I believe that George Santayana showed much more wisdom that Henry Ford. Not remembering one's mistakes is a recipe for disaster.

Yes it matters - Christianity makes plenty of important historical claims.

Christianity makes plenty of important historical claims and there is evidence to back up those claims. conservative 01:54, 30 July 2010 (EDT)