As Thomas Jefferson wrote in Query XIV in his 1782 Notes on the State of Virginia,
"“History, by apprising [us] of the past, will enable [us] to judge the future;
it will avail [us] of the experience of other times and other nations; it will
qualify [us] as judges of the actions and designs of men.
Although a firm grasp on the past does not guarantee avoidance of its failures and
mistakes, understanding the past and its patterns enhances one's ability to
analyze the present and the future.
Few human activites are devoid of historical analysis.
Doctors cannot make a good diagnosis without first taking a medical
history. Coaches cannot develop
"game plans" without analyzing the tendencies (i.e., historical behavior) of
their opponents. U.S. judges and
lawyers cannot draft a judgment or write a brief without grasping
precedent. CEOs cannot reposition
their companies without understanding market and sales history.
Banks cannot loan to borrowers without taking
credit history, and college admission officers cannot make a decision on
an application until they feel comfortable that a student's academic performance
history predicts a trajectory of good future