History is often characterized as the study of the past, but this is not the case. In fact, history is as much about the present and future as it is about the past. The past is only the canvas on which historians draw their interpretations of all human endeavors including politics, economics, the construction of social institutions, and the methods of cultural expression. The interpretive tools that historians use to address these fundamental human activities are as appropriately used to address the present and the future as the past. From ancient carved inscriptions to modern newspapers, historians examine the sources of past cultures in order to explore the ways in which human beings express their understanding of the world around them, and how they try to make sense of the events that affect their times.
History is thus not a collection of names and dates to be memorized, but a means of addressing the human condition through the various media of cultural expression both past and present. The tools that the historian uses to achieve this goal are drawn from every discipline; political science, sociology, anthropology, and literary criticism all contribute the training of a historian, and make the historian as prepared to examine the present as the past.
If you seek to study a field that offers you the broadest possible range of skills and subjects, from understanding the organization of the Roman army to the political background of the authors of the American Constitution to the impact and the potential effects of the September eleventh bombing, then history is the major for you.