The meaning of history varies from person to person. I am going to tell you what the word history means to me, as well as how history affects society, and what roles historians play in this.
My idea of history is a way of remembering the past, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes as people of earlier times made and plan for the future. Through the mistakes of people from the past, we can learn what not to do. I think this is best stated by George Santayana with the saying "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". History also is a way to remember where your society came from and how it became what it is. If you can't remember how your society became what it is, it will be very difficult to continue to progress and become what you want to be in the future.
There are two quotations that I think help prove this point. The first is by Robert Daniels, who said "Without history we have no knowledge of who we are or how we came to be, like victims of collective amnesia groping in the dark for our identity". The other quote is from the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who said "Study the past if you would divine the future". To me, this quote rings very true because I believe that the main purpose of history is to help prepare for the future and make the future better than the past.
I think the definition of history that best reflects my ideas is that history is an opportunity to think and reason, because I feel that the main purpose of history is to learn from it. For example, the United States can learn from past wars such...