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The Importance of Social Studies

Mack Morris, Editor

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Social studies, especially in recent years, is unfortunately considered by many students to be a useless subject. However, this could not be further from the truth. Social studies is the past, present, and future. Social studies is who people are and why they are. Social studies is why and how the world works. Social studies is everything.

Yes, you may not need to memorize specific dates or remember the names of all the people who minutely altered the course of history. Even I, someone who absolutely loves the subject of social studies, can understand and admit that. It is, however, important to understand the effects of the events of the past and the present state of the world. A proper understanding of social studies can benefit everyone, and if everyone took the time to pay attention in class (you have to be in class whether you like it or not, so you might as well pay attention) or to watch the news on occasion, the world would be far better off.

Even if you don’t care about politics, history, the economy, etc. (which you should), social studies is a class that can teach learning skills and functionality. It is also a class that anyone can connect with on some level. Since social studies, by nature, tells the story of human history across different nations and culture, everyone can find some part of history that applies and connects to themselves.

Each distinct category of social studies provides its own unique insight into the world we live in today. Society as a whole can benefit from even the smallest amount of knowledge in any of social studies’ categories due to their applicability. A brief summary of those categories and what they have to 0ffer is listed below:

History tells us how we got to where we are today. This is of the utmost importance because without history we would be stuck in an endless loop of failure. History can be used to evaluate modern problems and predict the outcome of possible solutions. It helps to avoid unwanted outcomes by providing proof of past mistakes. For example, if the leaders and people of Venezuela were more well-versed in history, they may have known that socialism (which essentially a form of communism) does not work for long as the dominant political system in a sovereign nation. Their nation is now crippled and in a state of unrest that could have been avoided if only they looked back and saw the world’s previously failed communist/socialist nations. Furthermore, history can not be ignored, even if we aren’t always proud of it. That’s why it’s so sad to people attempting to destroy Confederate monuments. I understand why people don’t support said Confederate monuments, but they must stand as a testimony to what we’ve been through and what has been overcame. Also, previous successes can be used to correct mistakes and make improvements. Systems that work set the precedents for future solutions.

Economics and politics keep the world’s gears turning and fuel development around the globe. A deep understanding of the economy is required to keep whole nations afloat, and historical knowledge of previous economic failure is required to avoid a second Great Depression. It also inspires the decisions of everyone, from world leaders to suburban families. Politics keep the world civil and solve issues amongst people. Also, politics directly ties-in with history. George Washington, in his farewell address, warned the American leaders of the future to avoid political party systems. This is terrific insight, seeing as how most of the government’s problems today grow from the splits between party lines. Politics shape history as it’s happening and lead us into the future by using historical knowledge to learn from mistakes.

Geography and psychology tell the stories of people: who they are, why they are, and where they are. Culture is a complex thing, and without a deep understanding of who people are, the world would quickly resort to anarchy. Successful leaders know how to govern diverse populations and understand how to approach different types of cultures without offending people. Understanding a variety of cultures and the reasoning behind each of these is pivotal to the world. For example, in the present-day, Israel and its surrounding Muslim neighbors are constantly at arms. A leader who is understanding and knowledgeable in both of their respective cultures will be required to one day achieve peace, as with any conflict between nations with opposing cultural backgrounds.

I summarize the categories of social studies to show just how widespread and overarching the subject actually is. Social studies provides a foundation for learning, functioning in society, and being an active part of any community. It is important to know how things are and why they are. The subject of social studies has the potential to help anyone, anywhere, with any problem.

Social studies is everything, and without it, the world would fall to pieces. To me, social studies is arguably the most important subject due to its vast area of study and the impact it has on everything. I hope people can come to see it for how important it truly is.

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