In the first place, like all other intellectual disciplines, history has to be studied for its own sake. In as much as it aims at establishing universal truths, students are bound to benefit from its study. Such benefits may be capitulated inter alia:
- It gives every student who passes through school a knowledge of the history of his own country in West Africa, set in the history of Africa and World civilization.
- It enables the students to develop an accurate sense of chronology while he must appreciate the problem of Oral tradition as the chief source of African history before 1800 and its susceptibility to our chronological data.
- Its enables every student to acquire something of the skill and values which the study of our past can give; that the student may be inspired by the stories of great men and tremendous movements, learn to weigh evidence and grasp its direction, appreciate the variety of human motives and understand something of continuing problems of politics, economics and social life.
- It enables the student to translate the relevance of the past to this present environment.
- And above all, it gives the student at a suitable age the volume of historical study as well coincide with the changing interest of growing student.
To the general reader, its gives understanding of how the affairs of men arrive at today’s crises. Basically, the study of history offers explanation for men’s efforts to deal with problems of society in their own age. Ipsofacto, historical knowledge has the inevitable consequence of increasing human tolerance, respect for heterogeneity of opinions; and a healthy unwillingness to judge or condemn with the stupidity of “it can’t happen here”.
Secondly, the study of history has its practical use in the field of international relations and diplomacy. It easily helps diplomats to identify national traits. In the international scene, traits peculiar to the Arab, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Sierra Leonine, the Swiss, British, German, French, Russian, American, or the Israeli (to mention a few) are put into sympathetic use of understanding the other nation through our knowledge of history.
Finally, the study of history had the most effective influence of conserving and preserving the norms and values of the society. Perhaps this is the most invaluable function of history. Historian whether consciously or otherwise pass historical judgements which are based on the established standards of the society. By so doing, such norms and values are preserved in their records for future generations.
Many students who do not like history at school give heterogeneous reasons for their dislike of the subject. Some say that the subject is too difficult. They say that they cannot learn list of events, dates, names of persons, battles and wars. They erroneous believe is that when you are training historians you are breeding revolutionists.
The fact is that our knowledge of the past facilitates understanding of contemporary issues and contemplation on the future. The study of the past can help people to stop making the mistake of their forefathers, or to copy and improve upon the good phenomena which they did for mankind. This is why history has been described as a “Silent Bible“, because like they Holy Book, history is full of lessons. People will think poorly of a leader who does not know about the history of his ancestors.
History is “Scientific” because historians use the scientific method in modified form, and value object description.