How does our past impact our present day lives?

U.S. History Tutorial

How does our past impact our present day lives?


A question that gets asked a lot but is rarely ever answered correctly. Many students ask me why they have to learn history. I reply that every aspect of their lives has been determined by past events and people. After that answer I get “how.”

Sample Problem

How have our lives been shaped by the past?


My go to examples are; you’re right to ask me that question and debate it with me without fear of retaliation or consequence was given to you over 200 years ago. Your right to religious freedom was also determined over 200 years ago by people that have long since been dead. And most recently, your ability to sit in a classroom with people of different ethnicities was granted barely a half century ago.

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History And Writing Tutor
I am currently studying anthropology at Mississippi State University. In 2014 I finished my B.A. In history with minors in religious and American studies from Mississipppi university for Women. I am a columnist for I was born in Memphis TN and have lived in in Columbus for about 23 year...
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  1. David W. Fleming no 02/28/2017, 6:31 pm Reply

    A more personal answer to the question I can provide is a story from my own family’s history. During the Civil War my great-great-grandfather Robert was sent off to fight in the Texas Calvary for the Confederacy. Before he left, his mother gave him a sweater to wear under his uniform she had made herself. During the war he was wounded and shot through the chest buy a musket ball, the musket ball would have penetrated his heart were it not for the sweater he had on given to him by his mother, which stopped it before reaching the heart. This musket ball would have killed him, had it not been for the sweater his mother had made for him. Because my great-great-grandfather wore that sweater that day he, he left and returned home after the war married and had children my great-grandfather who had children when he was old enough my grandfather and on to my father who than a hundred years afterwards I was born. Therefore, if not for a homemade sweater, made in the 1860s for one soldier,his life would have ended that day in battle, and 100 years later, I would never have been born.

    • Jared R 02/28/2017, 9:25 pm Reply

      I love this story. It’s incredible that your ancestors have passed on the detailed circumstances of how their existence and yours very nearly was not.

      I often think about how many such improbable circumstances led to my own existence over thousands or millions of years. It’s astronomically unlikely that everything would happen just as it did in such a way as to bring me into existence. And yet here I am, and here you are despite the same odds.