Tuesday, December 13, 2011

History: Uses for Today

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History is a broad subject. In fact, it takes up so much time, since the beginning of humanity until the present. Defined in Longman’s Dictionary, history is ‘all things that happened in the past, especially in the political, social, or economic development of a nation’ (Longman’s 48). History explains why are things the way they are today, as history adds specific events, inventions or ideas that make a transformation, major or minor. History is almost unlimited, but what it contributes to our present will never be forgotten once we truly know why the study of history is significant.


The foundation, or base of history, is a very long but significant time (Rabb 7). History is built from one hundred thousand years, when the first humans, our ancestors, were populating Africa, Asia and Europe (7). During these times, history itself is a ‘blurred, almost invisible mist’ (Fromkin ). However, as time goes on, historians try to ‘penetrate the mist’ () for information, or simply finding artifacts or writings from the past to help us with our knowledge of history (Hartman ii).


Key moments in history have always enabled us to be, politically, socially, economically and technologically, what we are today. Agriculture was started when people learned to grow crops and herd animals, for supporting larger populations and surviving after the latest Ice Age (Rabb 7). Because of food surpluses, people can look forward to secondary needs after survival needs, like pottery and other goods, and this eventually led to civilization (Roberts 4). A civilization is formed when the people are as one in their culture, way of living and togetherness (5). The first seafarers opened the door to sea navigation, and they traveled to populate countless islands in the Pacific Ocean (Rabb 18). Their navigational abilities still puzze today’s scientists (18). When civilizations reached the Iron Age, with the ability to smelt and produce iron tools and weapons, conflicts peaked at the highest in the ancient world with sharp and firm weapons that provided both offensive and defensive power (Roberts 11). When the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, because of constant attacks and extortion by barbaric tribes, like the Goths and Vandals, which caused history to come to a standstill (). The Dark Age after the fall of the Roman Empire ended when Columbus discovered the Americas, and it was a miraculous event that restarted history (45). In 1776, USA declares itself independence after a revolution that saw Britain lose its grip on this land, eventually increasing its power in all sectors to become today’s most powerful nation. (577). Japan is today’s Asian powerhouse, because they were influenced by the Europeans during the 1800s, then adding European technologies to the nation, and though Japan failed to cruelly gain Asian colonies as they wanted, they have grown to be an economically and technologically advanced nation (61). These key moments help shape today’s world and history, and it is almost certain that specific event will continue to modify the world.


Looking at history at a glance, we can see the plain diversity in history. From the changes of Asia and Africa to Europe, we can examine how the nations transformed from its earliest times (Roberts xii). Asian and African societies were much less developed than the rapidly advancing Europeans (xii). Also, the architecture, writing, religion and everything that has a relationship with society are contrasting in the ways they worked and the rate they advanced (xii). The Egyptian temples and Hebrew priest towers resemble different cultures and purposes, as monotheism in Jewish societies and polytheism in Egypt demonstrates different ways to worshipping gods in the ancient world (xii). There is an unlimited amount of ways to diverse history.


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History will also help us to understand how cultures and religions have evolved to this present state. For example, when USA was just independent, most of its people followed all of the teachings of Christianity, but today, only basic rules for Christianity are followed (Ellis 80). This is because of the fact that lifestyle has evolved more economically, and people will not be able to have the time to worship God (80). In addition, village life that focuses on worshipping a tribe’s own god and practicing an own specific culture has faded away, because city life that is centered on economy and politics rather than cultures and religions has replaced them during the 1th and 0th centuries (80). As the world begins to concentrate on other areas rather than the traditional religion and culture, history will have different transformations in the future.


Dr. George Grant, Ph.D. in Education, explains to us about how history has a significant relation with religion. “Instead of a collection of dates and dead people, history should be in the Biblical viewpoint taught by example


(http//gileskirk.com/q_a_frame.com)”. Also, he says that history is the main part of education, because most of the contents in the Bible shows how we came about and how certain people like Abraham, Moses and Jesus changed history (http//gileskirk.com/q_a_frame.com). He also mentioned that the Bible, which already teaches history, indirectly also explains literature, narrating, beliefs and other subjects (http//gileskirk.com/q_a_frame.com). Religion in different societies can have a relation with history, mostly in religious books with beliefs and stories.


Architecture has evolved over time and tracing its development will enable us to understand how architecture has reached this level today. Egyptian architecture was very advanced, and they proved this fact by build the Great Pyramid of Giza that is 750 feet on each side (Roberts 58). This wonder of the world required 100,000 men to pull stones from 500 miles away (58). Architecture continued to improve in stability and comfort (60). The next key point in the history of architecture is during the 180s, when the first true skyscraper, “The Reliance Building”, was constructed and completed (Ellis 540). This building stood 16 storeys high (540). Elevators enabled skyscrapers to be built, so people could climb a great amount of floors conveniently (540). We could just stare at the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and wonder what advancements in architecture can be included in history.


If we look back in history, we can trace how health has been enhanced, especially at the component of lowering casualties during times of war. Before the 1800s, soldiers fell like dominoes in wars because of the lack of medics (Ellis 541). A Swiss banker established the Red Cross in 185 during an Italian war (541). This organization was meant for healing soldiers during wars, and the success of this new establishment gained reputation (541). As the Red Cross continued to aid the world in wars and basic healthcare, new technologies for decreasing deaths came up to significant use (541). We have looked back at history to examine the evolution of health to its acceptable state today.


History can be interpreted and taught to us in the form of entertainment, since youngsters prefer to enjoy entertainment rather than learn boring history. Revolutionary War plays are made comedy by adding in humorous dialogues and actions (Ellis ). At the Renaissance Fair, we participate in various activities that teach us about life in the Middle Ages (). We have probably had class trips to a museum that shows dinosaur bones, pictures, sculptures, traditional cultures, and many other exhibitions (). Almost everyone in the world would enjoy watching exhilarating and fascinating movies, whether it is about a past ship disaster, the legend of Robin Hood or King Arthur, or whatever else portrays the past (). Little does anyone know that what may seem to excite the mind also educates about history.


There are a couple of views of how to teach history, all involving different methods. The first method is by studying the Bible, so we can understand history in a religious perspective, how the world came about, and how it changed over time (http//gileskirk.com/q_a_frame.com). Another way, mentioned by Dr. Victor M. Uribe, though the most common method, is to teach in an encouraging way, rather than lecturing for hours after hours about specific topics, and this can be achieved by dedication and motivation to teach your students, and letting them read entertainment but educating books about history (http//lacc.fiu.edu/uribe/philosophy.html). He also added that history should be taught integrated with language arts, so assigning research papers and essays will improve the students’ skills in expressing historical facts and theories through language (http//lacc.fiu.edu/.../philosophy.html). History can educate people in many ways, because of the various styles professionals look at the subject of history.


Today’s countries’ relations are fixed in a specific way, because of significant events, diplomatic or military activities, or various actions in history (Ellis 80). Trade relations are not established overnight but rather take years or even ages to open an effect and beneficial trade relation (80). In Singapore today, Asian countries such as China, India and Britain, all of which traded since Singapore was under British control in the 1800s, have a very good relation today (80). Relations are only at its peak when two nations share moments together (80). During the 18 Winter Olympics, where a wide range and race of people competed and cheered for their nation, relations were improved as one people share their own history with another people (80). Trade and sharing history and moments are ways to maintaining and improving relations from the past.


Warfare and conflicts add an important asset to history, as it brings destruction, revolutions, and other effects that enable the world to move forward. The first conflicts happened when the first great civilizations were at their height (Roberts 71). The Egyptians recorded wars with the Nubians, Greeks, Babylonians and other civilizations who struggled for power (71). Julius Caesar’s personal book recorded the great battles of his great campaign that saw him conquer lots of land for the Roman Empire (71). Peace in Europe ended in 114, when Germany and Austro-Hungary declared war against England, France and Russia, who were the Allies, and this war decided who would lose power in Europe, and the war ended when the Allies won (707). After Germany’s defeat in World War I, Adolf Hitler rose through the 10s, promising them a new Germany, but what he, as an individual, started ended as a devastating war (http//www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/516/history.html). World War II started when Germany invaded several neutral European nations, along with Italy and Japan, who also began invading powers, and these three nations became known as the Axis (Roberts 81). Again, the Allies, with the USA, defeated the Axis, marking the end of the war with the dropping of two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Yokohama (84). The world has learnt from this mistake in the past by not trying cruelly to gain power by massacring millions of Jews as Hitler did (Ellis 674). Nuclear weapons started the Cold War, because of what the world saw that happened in Japan (675). USSR and USA built up weapons stockpiles, especially nuclear, and though no one died in the Cold War, the world had the fear never imagined before (Roberts 8). The Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened when USSR was sending and setting up nuclear weapons in Cuba as a possible attack base against the USA , almost started what would most likely be the most lethal war in history, and ended when USSR agreed to dismantle those nuclear weapons and take them back to USSR (0). This age of fear ended when USSR dismantled its nuclear weapons and army because of an economic crisis (16). Many wars have altered the course of history, but it has shaped up the world as it is today.


History is the story of our species, and whatever we do affects history and changes its course to what we desire. “History is story of human (Ellis )”, and this means that the stories of an individual’s life or society’s events merge together to form the history of us (). Historians merge these stories in order to unveil a mystery we want to know about (). History explains the route we humans have taken to our position in the present day (http//ppp.unipv.it/Pages/Group/Group1.htm). In history, we examine how our technologies have evolved from the past, so we, as humans, will be able to continue history into the future from the ideas of the past (http//ppp.unipv.it/.../Group1.htm). As an individual, we merge all of our contributions into history as a generation to include as a portion of history, since our descendants have always been adding since the beginning of humankind (Ellis 7). These examples above will show the path humankind has taken to its present area and also how it will continue.


Historians are people who dedicate their life to the study, teaching or examining of the broad subject history. Dr. Victor M. Uribe changed from a law student to a historian, because he wanted to have an exciting and hard-working life and to serve the people of the world and contribute to the worldwide society (http//lacc.fiu.edu/uribe/philosophy.html). He also said that history can never be perfect and historians have a tough task to make history as perfect as possible (http//lacc.fiu.edu/.../philosophy.html). Dr. Uribe stated that devoting time to history is a low paid and overworking life, and only real passion and devotion will make a suitable historian (http//lacc.fiu.edu/.../philosophy.html). He also says that history is a lifetime experience, since the amount to learn in history is almost unlimited, from discovering hidden techniques to adding a new page in history (http//lacc.fiu.edu/.../philosophy.html). Charles K. Goodwill is a historian who is very dedicated and persistent to the study of the history of Southern Sahara Desert, and he revealed a lot of new information about the region, especially about their lifestyle (Reuters ). Emerging historians, such as Lori Walker, an undergraduate student in history, adds to the study of history by establishing a website that enables history teachers and emerging historians to improve their knowledge about history (http//scs.une.edu.au/StudentFiles/HomePages/HP_1_7/STME7/LoriWalker/LoriWalker.html). The life and philosophies of historians will always continue to prevail to add facts of history into history itself.


If children look into history, role models are there to help persuade youngsters to achieve specific goals for the future. History can help future generations to become significant but positive, especially revolutionists and people that changed the way we think (Ellis 178). There are also science geniuses, like Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, explorers, like Christopher Columbus or Neil Armstrong, and many other types (178). The figureheads who changed the world positively today will be the role models for the future (17). They will be included in history, and most likely, children will be influenced by these people who have changed the world greatly (17). Children can be attempt to reach their potential by positive role models that have taken an important stand in the world.


We have all seen why history is unlimited, and what it holds is basically the key to unlocking the future and continuing history. Now, you would know that history is more than memorizing facts, dates or places. We look at the cultures, religions, technologies, architecture, health, education and whatever else we can think of. From their base of history since the beginning of humanity, it has been growing richer and larger. History will always continue to prevail, even in the future, and while the base of humanity will be gone, the base of history and history itself will be preserved until the end of time.


Works Cited


1. Burns, David. Geocities. History Page. http//www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/516/history.html . May 15, 00 150.


. Ellis, Elizabeth Gayner and Anthony Esler. World History � Connections to Today. Upper Saddle River, NJ Prentice Hall, 00.


. Fromkin, David. The Way of the World. New York Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 18.


4. Grant, George. Gileskirk. An Interview with George Grant, Ph.D.. http//gileskirk.com/q_a_frame.html. May 15, 00 11, May 16, 00 1.


5. Longman. Dictionary of Contemporary English. Harlow, Eng Clays Ltd., 187.


6. Rabb, Theodore K., ed. People and Nations � A World History. Orlando Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 18.


7. Reuters. “African History in the south Saharan Desert.” Canberra Time. 4 April 16 4


8. Roberts, J. M., ed., History of the World. New York Oxford University Press, 1.


. Uribe, Dr. Victor M. Florida International University. Teaching Statement. http//lacc.fiu.edu/uribe/philosophy.html. May 15, 00 11, May 17, 00 165.


10. Walker, Lori. University of New England. Lori’s Homepage. http//scs.une.edu.au/StudentFiles/HomePages/HP_1_7/STME7/LoriWalker/LoriWalker.html. May 16, 00 1515.


11. Volta, A. Pavia University. Research of Pavia University’s Department of Physics. http//ppp.unipv.it/Pages/Group/Group1.htm. May 15, 00 17, May 16, 00 1


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