Essay 57 – What history has to teach us about the present

GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 57

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that history has little to teach us about the present while others think that the study of the past helps us to understand the present.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Model Answer:

Many opine that history is hardly relevant to the present, yet others refute the notion arguing that history is conducive to comprehend contemporary situations. I incline to the opinion that the knowledge of the past helps us to fathom the reasons for present incidents.

People who find history irrelevant, believe that historical events have little lessons about the present. On top of that, history, in most cases, hardly matters in decision making. For instance, despite the lessons of the Vietnam War, the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Likewise, they think that it is an utter waste of time to delve into the nooks and crannies of histories’ gripping narratives when the future urges modern people to fight off its tiresome challenges. They go on to argue that it will be more sensible if one stops pondering hard over the past and commence to think about the present situation.

However, many people are all in favour of teaching history to understand the “present” and even the “future”. They concede that the account of the past helps us to appreciate change and how the society we currently live in. The present stems from the past and so the future. Any time people try to understand why something happened- whether a political upheaval in Africa, a sudden shift in the inflation rate, or a war in the Middle East or the Balkans- they have to ponder over the factors that shaped in the past.

Similarly, in my opinion, history is relevant to the present time still further, particularly curbing epidemics. We can learn from history about how diseases spread and how we respond to them. Strategies to curb plague in pre-industrial Europe have served as a basis for formulating later policies and are echoed in current health initiatives.

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to assume that history is indeed relevant to presents as I agree with the quote from Cicero that says “to be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child”.

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