The idea of using the past to explain the present, while often implicit in earlier discussions of history as a school subject, rarely received explicit emphasis until the latter part of the nineteenth century…
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Man's cultural heritage pervades our lives almost from birth. History is the story of what men and women have done, of what they have left for others to enjoy and suffer. People have made fantastic blunders and noble contributions, but regardless of the quality of human activity it has given us a legacy of civilization, not always fine and noble but on the whole there has been progress both material and moral. Man's outlook is basically hopeful and there has been some justification for this. As people look at history, if they are guided in the true spirit of criticism and imbued with the necessity to look for the truth, they cannot help being inspired by the heroic proportions of their ancestors' struggle for existence and a better life. Such is the history as it was introduced to the ancient Greek world by Herodotus.
After about a million years of human struggle out of the fog and ignorance of primeval antiquity during which time man's history was in the hands of the gods. Herodotus gave the story of humanity back to man; thus rightly being called the "father of history." He did this in a very simple way, in a manner that we sometimes take for granted and therefore overlook; he simply observed people and wrote about what they did and thought. For the first time history was more than a mere symbolic record. Man was made aware of his heritage. He introduced humanism into the chronicles of war, degradation and the mysterious ways of Providence. He endowed men historically with freedom of will to make choices and to mold the course of events in which they were caught up.
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