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If you're a history buff, love to talk about history and watch the History Channel, this is the board for that.
5 posts • Page 1 of 1
I have often pondered the point of whether those leaders judged good or bad by history were in fact good or bad due to their own qualities, or just due to factors largely beyond their control. A fact pointing to the latter general conclusion is that it is clear that many historical figures not thought to be so great would be practically worshipped as gods if they had died a bit earlier. Sometimes this is because they got a bit old and stupid and lost their edge, and other times is just that after their run of good luck the bad stuff happened (that probably would have happened no matter what) and they got the blame, whereas were they to have been struck by lightening or whatever it would have been blamed on their successor. Or some combination of the two.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a few examples. Had Hitler been run over by a bus in 1938, he would clearly have gone down in history as the greatest German ever, and perhaps even been a socialist hero against capitalist dystopianism. Had Edward III died of dysentery before his son’s ill-fated adventures in Spain and the subsequent English reversals in France, he would be thought of as the greatest English king. Even Mugabe would have far eclipsed Mandela had he died in the late 80s (of course they are both evil monsters, but we are talking about the view of history). There are no doubt thousands of other examples. Perhaps students of history could name a few more such figures in this thread.
Muhammad; Islam-bashers would have a lot less to whine about if he died before he could marry Aisha. And ancient Rome, Gaius Marius. Had he died before his seventh consulship, he would be far more fondly remembered.
Nixon. A minor historical figure by comparison, but still he would have been considered one of America's greatest presidents if only he had died in early 1973, when Watergate was about to explode.