When you read history you learn that every moment’s decision carries consequences, you learn that your choices matter, that the ideas you embrace and the groups you join yourself to are not something of the moment but play out through the years. History is a way of seeing and admiring wisdom and principled conduct, it is a proper instrument for instructing us in good choices and warning us to be deliberate. History is not always full of wisdom, but it is replete with folly and all the consequences thereof, and in contrast the wisdom one sees shines the brighter, the better to be understood and properly valued. So we can say that historiography is a way of using time, so often an enemy, to our advantage; as the poet of historical consciousness once said, only through time is time conquered. History helps us to see the moral gravitation of the human condition, not to be overcome or rejected but accepted in order to flourish. Principled conduct is the kind of behavior that views reward in a way that transcends time, and our study of history helps us to understand that.


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