“History is not just about which battle took place on what day. On top of what happened, it also seeks to understand why these events unfolded as they did. On top of collecting historical data, it involves explaining the past.
To do so, it investigates why certain deeds had the consequences that they had. And this — the study of the results of different decisions in different contexts— places the study of history in the very center of our daily lives. For, if there is one thing we all have reasons to be interested in, it is why our acts give rise to the sequence of follow-up reactions that they cause.
Understanding the motivations and upshot of human behavior is no easy task…
we need to think about how larger contexts impinge on the impact of behavior.
Doing so will improve our understanding of why things happen as they do, without having to undergo the events ourselves. We gain practical knowledge, ‘for free’.
Studying history, then, helps in acquiring a solid trunk for our knowledge-tree of life…”