History Repeating Essay Example

History Repeating Essay Example
📌Category: History
📌Words: 746
📌Pages: 3
📌Published: 03 April 2021

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This famous quote, spoken by George Santayana, is often used in order to remind humanity to pay attention to past events, and make sure we do not forget historical catastrophes. Time and time again, we refer back to past tragedies. How we are repeating the exact same mistakes once again, but is there any truth to this saying? If we remember the past, are we more likely to defer another tragedy, or are humans incapable of learning from their past mistakes?

George Santayana was a Spanish poet and philosopher, and was well known for his substantial role in Classic Philosophy (Saatkamp). “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” While he may not be the first person to talk about the importance of history, his words hold true, The line was first said in his book ‘The Life of Reason’ in 1905 (A Quote). While similar versions of the line have been said over the years, the main theme stays the same, remember the past. Humanity is at constant war with itself, and if it does not remember and study the past, we are at risk to fall to the same fate as those before us. Every generation has its own order of events that shape the world around us and the people living in it. This quote still stands strong, now more than ever, with the constant political bickering, civil unrest, and distrust in science. We are constantly trying to rewrite history to hide the disturbing truths away from any prying eyes, only to make these same mistakes again. 

A key example of history repeating itself comes only a few decades after the line’s conception. In 1941, Adolf Hitler tried to invade Russia, much like Napoleon Bonaparte had tried to do in 1812. Both invasions failed due to strangely similar factors, such as aiming for the rapid destruction of the Russian armies, issues with time and space due to communication and climate, and a halt in Smolnik (Moscow). Another example of history repeating itself include the two greatest economic catastrophes in the past century, The Great Depression and The Great Recession. Though different in the degree, these two economic failures were both caused and treated similarly. Both of these occurred due to market failure, causing bank failure, unemployment, and the stock market crashing (Davidson). This led to an increased amount of involvement from the federal government (Hanke). 

However, even in recent years we are constantly hearing about events that are all too similar to the past. Last summer, we lived through the Black Lives Matter movement that echoed the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. The  most notable example though, is the pandemic we are all living through. The 1918 Influenza pandemic (The Spanish Flu) and the current Coronavirus pandemic that has been spreading across the globe since March of 2020. In both situations, the disease quickly spread across the globe, causing multiple waves, and most importantly, public officials downplayed the viruses (COVID-19). However, the precautions that were set for both pandemics were oddly similar, which included social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands (Claire). We are currently still in the pandemic, and unless people start to take it more seriously, it might be quiet a while before we are able to revert back to a “normal” life, if that still exists. However, we might be able to learn how to properly take care of the pandemic and see possible outcomes if we look back to the 1918 influenza. 

Not only remembering the past, but also learning from the past is an extremely important goal to aim towards.. It teaches us not only where we came from, but where we might go. While we will never know what tomorrow holds, learning from the past can provide a more detailed insight into what the future might hold. History does not repeat itself, but instead can instead lend itself to repeat the same patterns. While we might see another revolution, another war, another tyranny, we will never see the exact same events as the past. Mark Twain once said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme."

Works Cited

Claire Gillespie November 17, and Claire Gillespie. “Spanish Flu vs. COVID-19: Here's How They Compare.” Health.com, 17 Nov. 2020, www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/how-are-spanish-flu-and-covid-19-alike.

“COVID-19 vs Spanish Flu.” Colorado Pain Care, 31 July 2020, coloradopaincare.com/covid-19-vs-spanish-flu/.

Davidson, Barbara. “Comparing the Great Recession of 2008 with the Great Depression.” NetCredit Blog, NetCredit, 17 Mar. 2020, www.netcredit.com/blog/great-recession-of-2008/.

“Examples of History Repeating Itself.” Example 2 Understand, example2.com/?page_id=51.

Hanke, Steve. “What Do The Great Depression And The Great Recession Have In Common?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 16 Dec. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/stevehanke/2017/08/16/what-do-the-great-depression-and-the-great-recession-have-in-common/?sh=7a64fe3c375d.

“Moscow, 1812 and 1941: A Comparison.” Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03071845209419629?journalCode=rusi19.

“A Quote from The Life of Reason.” Goodreads, Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/quotes/634544-those-who-cannot-remember-the-past-are-condemned-to-repeat.

Saatkamp, Herman, and Martin Coleman. “George Santayana.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 23 July 2020, plato.stanford.edu/entries/santayana/.

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