Why It’s Important to Know History

The world is a dangerous place, so you’ve got to know the history of the areas you’re visiting. This can help prevent more violence in future years and it could save your life someday soon. Spend some time brushing up on old-school times!

The “why is history important” is a question that has been asked since the beginning of time. The answer to this question is simple, but it can be hard to remember why you need to know history.

The Winston Churchill Header.

Welcome back to Winston Churchill’s Adulthood School! We started a series on growing up properly last year, using the great British statesman’s life as a guide and inspiration. These “lessons” are designed to show you how to grow into a responsible, well-functioning, productive member of society while maintaining your enthusiasm for life. The course is based on the notion that, although adulthood is frequently associated with worry, boredom, and indifference, it is quite possible to have an exciting, satisfying, and adventurous life if you set your mind to it.

As we’ve covered, embracing the opportunity to actively author your life – to write your own tale and build a world that is full of texture and vibrancy far into your elderly years – is essential to growing up properly. To tell such a vivid story, one must cultivate a comfort with conflicting energy and ideas – an elegant marriage of one’s adolescent and adult inclinations. Most adults are unable or unwilling to keep such energies in tension, opting instead for a basic, black-and-white perspective. Great riches await individuals who are driven to harness, rather than crush, a whirl of “contradictory” currents.

So far, we’ve discussed three of these animating forces: not allowing uncertainty to get in the way of forming a strong moral code, resisting externally imposed timetables while developing your own disciplined routine, and being able to perceive the world both realistically and passionately.

The course will finish with five last lessons on how to reach a spectacular adulthood now that we have all of our core building blocks in place. Sir Winston will serve as our illuminating guide, as he usually does. 

Lesson #4: Develop a Nostalgic Passion for History 

“Despite his outgoing demeanor, Churchill looks within, and his strongest sense is a feeling of the past.” –James Berlin

Churchill’s romanticism pervaded all aspect of his life, including his historical perspective. Romantics have a nostalgic desire for the past, which they feel was better than the present. This viewpoint was exemplified by Winston Churchill. He was born in 1874, so he grew up in the later part of the Victorian era, and the ideals and visions of that time would forever be imprinted on his mind and soul. He admired the Victorian concept of honor and decency, as well as the British Empire’s formidable standing at the time.

He reflected in the introduction of a book about his boyhood released in 1930:

“When I look at this work as a whole, I realize I’ve painted a picture of a bygone era.” The nature of society, the foundations of politics, the means of war, the viewpoint of youth, and the scale of values have all been altered, and to a degree that I would not have imagined conceivable in such a short period of time without any violent internal upheaval. I can’t pretend to believe they’ve changed for the better in every way.”

Despite the fact that the rest of the world had moved on, Churchill had not. He had the impression that he was a guy from another era. He clung to the morals, customs, and language of the 19th century, believing that the 20th century had produced a lower civilization.


Winston’s fondness for the past, however, was not restricted to Victorian nostalgia; as William Manchester notes, his profound interest in history spanned centuries and was genuinely vital to his identity:

“Churchill’s passion for history was unwavering, and his knowledge was vast. Memorizing dates and place names has always been a challenge for students. History is more than a timeline, more than the ordering and parsing of collective memory for a few, Churchill most notably among them. History, through imagination and discipline, becomes part of personal memory for individuals like Churchill, just as childhood memories of the first swim in the ocean or the first day of school do. Churchill did not only watch the historical process; he actively participated in it. Classical venues, and Churchill’s ‘memory’ of them—from the Pillars of Hercules and on around the Mediterranean to Syracuse, Rome, Sparta, Alexandria, and Carthage—informed his identity in much the same way his memories of his family’s ancestral home, Blenheim Palace, did, or his father’s London house, where as a boy he charged his toy soldiers across Persian carpets. He was born a Victorian, but he had evolved into a Classical gentleman. He didn’t live in the past; he was a product of it.”

Churchill’s grasp of the history is so vast that calling him an amateur historian does him a disservice. His fascination with history started when he was a child; despite his struggles in many areas in school, it was one of the few topics in which he excelled. He produced a number of historical essays and books as an adult, notably the four-volume, 1,700-page History of English-Speaking Peoples. The epic story, which began with Caesar’s invasion of Britain and ended with World War I, took Churchill 20 years to finish. Winston was also fascinated with the American Civil War, and he would tell anybody who would listen about it, as well as recreate battles for his dinner guests, using glasses, plates, and forks to represent the various forces.

Quote by Winston Churchill Sitting in the library.

Churchill thought that history provided essential insights into how to act in the present and prepare for the future, not only as a source of academic fascination or cocktail party fodder. His understanding of history influenced all of his judgments, from personal to political, and was crucial in formulating his plan for defeating the Nazis. The prime minister “was engaged not just in the battles of the present war, but in the whole history from Cannae to Gallipoli,” according to Harry Hopkins, an unofficial American ambassador in England. Alexander the Great, Boudicca, Hadrian, King Harold, Prince Hal, Pitt, and, of course, his illustrious forefather Marlborough, had all been in previous acts of the same drama and on the same stage as Churchill and his foes.”

Though Churchill was well-versed in the hard facts and specifics of historical events, he also turned to the past for edification and inspiration. Churchill, like the ancient Greek and Roman historians, believed that the inspiring stories of former heroes gave moral and intellectual teaching. It was OK if certain aspects of the record were downplayed while others were accentuated in order to create legend. “Myth is considerably more essential and real than history,” Joseph Campbell said. The prominent characters of previous ages, as well as his own remarkable forebears, loomed big in Churchill’s mind as models for masculinity, much as he regarded the present as a conflict between the good men and the evil guys. Churchill was well-versed in history and facts, yet he was nonetheless moved by their legendary recall.


Looking Back and Reaching Out

Quote Winston Churchill looking the Aeroplane.

Although the currents of history were entrenched in the marrow of Churchill’s bones, it would be a mistake to dismiss him as a man who lived totally in the past; he was considerably more complicated in this, as in other things. One of his political opponents, Clement Attlee, likened him to a layer cake:

“One stratum was unquestionably from the seventeenth century. He clearly embodies the eighteenth century. There was the nineteenth century, and then there was a substantial slice of the twentieth century, and then there was a strange layer that may have been the twenty-first.”

Despite, or maybe because of, his absorption in history, Churchill was a forward-thinking man who was fascinated by science and technical advancements. During WWI, he promoted the employment of tanks (dubbed “Winston’s Folly” by obstinate generals), rightly appraised the potential of aircraft (and trained to fly himself), and initiated a program to switch more of Her Majesty’s fleet’s fuel from coal to oil.

He was the first prime minister to designate a scientific adviser during WWII, who was always by his side. He also made sure that research programs were well-funded, and he encouraged scientists to experiment and act on their ideas on a regular basis – he wanted everything and everything tested. Churchill was friends with H. G. Wells and was inspired by science fiction (yet another kind of literature he admired) to study truly out-of-the-box concepts like a rocket-powered wheel, airborne mines, and even an ice-based aircraft carrier. Churchill, according to Manchester, “spewed thoughts like a masting oak spews acorns, some to root, but most to perish.” While the bulk of Churchill’s ideas were eventually unworkable, it is remarkable that a man in his sixties could come up with so many; he was far from a dormant old fogey with his head buried in the sands of time.

Lesson #4’s Takeaways

Quote by Winston Churchill Standing with child.

“Churchill’s nostalgic love of history may be an important aspect of his personality, but what does it have to do with adulthood for the rest of us?” you could ask.

Actually, quite a bit.

Understanding and embracing the vast number of options for what your life may look like is the key to being an intriguing, satisfied adult. And it’s a tragedy when that menu of options is restricted to what one sees in the news and within one’s circle of acquaintances.

Our current society, like our children, is very focused on the present. However, as an adult, you must be able to view the whole playing field and look back and forth as far as possible. As a youngster, you’re stuck in a labyrinth where you can only see the walls directly in front of you; as an adult, you need to be able to see things from a higher perspective.

Growing up in today’s world, it’s easy to believe that nothing existed before what’s going on now – that our issues and feelings are unique. However, billions of people have come before us, and their problems and sentiments were strikingly similar to ours.


Quote by Winston Churchill walking on the road with peoples.

Immersing oneself in history reveals that, rather than being a random entity floating in the void, you are a descendant of a long line of forefathers, and your own tale is a continuation of a story that has been unfolding for thousands of years. It anchors you – it motivates you to contribute something important to the story on both a large and local level. Churchill was not just interested in the big picture of history, but also in his own family’s history; he penned a million-word biography of his forefather, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, a distinguished politician and military leader in his own right. Winston was proud of his ancestors and worked hard to ensure that they were carried on in a dignified manner. Even if your own family tree doesn’t include famous figures, remembering the men and women who came before you — who may have lived quiet but dignified lives and made your own life possible — will inspire you to make your own mark and realize you’re capable of bearing the burdens and trials adulthood invariably brings — will inspire you to leave your own mark and realize you’re capable of bearing the burdens and trials adulthood invariably brings. You’re walking down a route that was previously far more difficult to navigate; your forefathers did it, and so will you.

Learning about the lives of your forefathers as well as the great men of history may provide unexpectedly useful advice on how to cope with your difficulties and challenges. It enables you to construct a “cabinet of unseen advisers” from which you may draw assistance at any time. Churchill “talked about Sir Walter Raleigh, Henry VIII, and James I as if they were his contemporaries,” according to Manchester, and his study of Marlborough supplied him with a wealth of knowledge that inspired his leadership throughout WWII. I can personally verify that when I’m having trouble solving a problem, the way another individual in history dealt with a comparable situation comes to mind often. Every grownup needs a group of historical luminaries with whom they may consult on a regular basis.

Finally, learning history broadens the range of options available to you while designing your own life. Living like a zoo animal, just aware of what you’re surrounded by in the moment, is like thinking that your little manufactured environment is all there is to the world. However, there are plenty more ways to live. When you complete a great biography of a great man, your understanding of humanity’s potential expands, and your soul feels perceptibly broadened. You’ve seen different methods to make a livelihood, plan your daily routine, approach your relationships, overcome obstacles, experience adventures, and look at the big picture of your life.

If these peeks are tinged with nostalgia, that’s even better. While nostalgia for the past is frequently seen as a limited, uninformed viewpoint, it may really serve as a springboard for creating something absolutely amazing in the present. It is completely conceivable to be fully aware of a former period’s defects and weaknesses, as well as the men who sometimes tripped through it, yet still be deeply inspired by the idea of that heroic “golden era.”


The Victorian era energised Winston Churchill. It’s the 1940s and 1950s for me. I’ve had a strong fondness for my grandpa and his Greatest Generation contemporaries since I was a youngster. I’m sure they weren’t perfect, but they exemplified a set of values that I’ve tried to mimic. The mystique of who they were and what they accomplished has been a guiding thread throughout my life.

Quote by Winston Churchill Sittng in the Airplane.

This isn’t to imply that I try to conduct my life in the manner of a 1950s guy. My life is quite contemporary in many aspects. I earn a livelihood through the internet. Kate and I share home and child-rearing responsibilities equally. Despite the fact that my style is traditional, I dress in everyday clothing. At the same time, I promote and strive to live by pure, traditional values. Marriage, family, honor, chastity, rootedness, community, frugality, fidelity, hard work, and good clean fun are all things that I celebrate.

Some of those ideals have changed in the world, but they haven’t changed in me, and they contribute a lot to the meaning and richness of my adulthood. I don’t need the rest of society to enjoy what I do in order for me to live them, particularly inside the confines of my own house. Outside, the fast-paced contemporary world rages, yet there are times during our family meals and monthly meetings when we feel like we’re in a Norman Rockwell picture.

At its finest, nostalgia motivates an endeavour to take the greatest qualities of the past and marry them to the best portions of the present in order to create a spectacular synergy of tradition and modernity. I’m a blogger and a Freemason who enjoys technology and Rat Pack music. To develop a complex, intriguing, and meaningful adulthood, you may draw from both the past and the present. You should, too.

Look for persons and historical eras that inspire you. Then live as a twenty-first-century adult with a few more layers than the usual man.

Complete the Series

The Winston Churchill Adult School is now open for enrollment. A Course on Becoming the Author of Your Own Life as a Prerequisite Lesson 1: Create a Strong Moral Code Establish a Daily Routine (Lesson #2) Lesson #3: Be Romantic with Your Life Don’t Give Up Your Sense of Adventure (Lesson #5) Don’t Be Afraid to Start a Family (Lesson #6) Work Like a Slave; Command Like a King; Create Like a God is the seventh lesson. Winston Churchill offers advice on hustling, leadership, and hobbies. Conclusion: Thought with action equals a fantastic adulthood.

The Winston Churchill Adult School is now open for enrollment. A Course on Becoming the Author of Your Own Life as a Prerequisite Lesson 1: Create a Strong Moral Code Establish a Daily Routine (Lesson #2) Lesson #3: Be Romantic with Your Life Don’t Give Up Your Sense of Adventure (Lesson #5) Don’t Be Afraid to Start a Family (Lesson #6) Work Like a Slave; Command Like a King; Create Like a God is the seventh lesson. Winston Churchill offers advice on hustling, leadership, and hobbies. Conclusion: Thought with action equals a fantastic adulthood.


William Manchester’s The Last Lion Trilogy

Winston Churchill’s Early Years



The “what is the importance of studying history” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to this question is that it’s important to know history because it helps you understand what happened in the past and how it can help you predict what will happen in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of studying history?

A: History is the study of past events, and it has many benefits. Some of these benefits are that we can learn about how people used to live in a different time period or place, keep track of historical trends over time and be able to compare life as a whole against other periods.

What is the importance of knowing history?

A: History is a huge part of what makes humans who they are in the modern sense. It helps us to understand how much we have changed, and it also gives us insight into the cultures that come before ours. Without knowing history, our world would be so different from anything you could ever imagine!

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