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While reading 1984 I saw many problems that are happening in our world today. The most startling one for me, however, was the idea of forgetting history. Repeatedly throughout the novel George Orwell showed us time and time again how the characters were simply forgetting their past or not caring enough to keep track of their history. At first I did not think this was an issue in our world today, however after further research I discovered just how serious a problem this really is. In our world people are beginning to forget more and more of history or see certain parts of our history as non important. This strikes me as a huge problem because, as George Santayana said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

When I hear this quote the first thing that comes to mind is the Holocaust. This is something that everyone needs to know about because it is vital that it never happens again. That is why I was so surprised to learn that the holocaust is fading from many peoples memories. According to the New York Times, “ 41 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force”. This presents a serious issue because it is not necessarily that they do not know what the holocaust was, it is that they do not know what caused it, or the details of it. This is worrisome because that means we will not be able to recognize  the signs of something similar happening again. 

In addition to the Holocaust fading from people memories there have also been many other signs that history is becoming less and less important. In Texas, the board of education has recently decided to make cuts to the states social studies curriculum, specifically they have decided to remove some historical figures from their American History curriculum. According to The Washington Post, “The result is a curriculum that does a poor job of teaching the complexities of American history and does little to inspire students to engage with history in ways that are important to building a brighter American future”. I agree with this, I believe that while we need to edit our history curriculum occasionally, it is vital that we do not remove figures or events from our history based on biases. If we allow this to happen we are shaping history to fit our opinions. In order to find a solution to this and ensure our students are learning all of our history, we need prevent the removal of topics from our curriculum simply because they do not fit the majorities view points. A conservative state should not be allowed to remove liberal figures and a liberal state should not be allowed to remove conservative figures. This would allow history to be taught from an unbiased perspective, which would let students learn history from all different point of views.

Another solution to prevent us from forgetting our history would be to encourage our students to pursue history majors. According to History News Network, in recent years the number of students receiving a bachelor’s degree in history has dropped by roughly 9 percent, and this is not the first time it has happened. I believe that this could be a major issue contributing to our declining interests in history. Often times history is put down because it is not as glamorous as being a doctor, a dentist, or other high paid professions. This is discouraging many students from pursuing studies in history. If we can begin to encourage students to continue studying history I think we can make a large contribution to solving this problem.

While some may say history is not as important as engineering or medicine because it does not help us move us forward, it is actually just as important because it prevents us from moving backwards.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Forgotten History by Alexis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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