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Historical Figures

Portrait of Leo Tolstoy

There is a long and bitter debate among historians as to the relative importance of individuals as opposed to mass movements in the events of history. Perhaps one of the most famous proponents of mass movements as an historical motivator was Tolstoy. His novel, "War and Peace", has nearly as much thesis as plot. His argument is that Western Europeans invaded Russia not because of the will of Napoleon, but because it was the inevitable result of the currents of history. He proposes that Napoleon was merely deluding himself.

Opposed to Tolstoy are the thousands of chroniclers who attributed wars, migrations, and economic occurrences to the actions of a few. It was thought that in the early 1400s Henry V brought the 100 years war to a head because he wanted to wear the crowns of both France and England. The idea is that kings and queens moved the fate of their nations in the way a player moves the pieces on a chessboard.

Obviously, both theories have their merits. Human events are of such a complex nature that there is plenty of room for both forces. It would seem likely that history is rather like a soup; the result is pretty much the combination of the ingredients, more of this, less of that, and too much salt will spoil the broth.

History is repleat with the great and even more saturated with the near great. We have put together a few biographical sketches:

The Father of History: Herodotus
Christopher Columbus
John Dee
Simon Bolivar
Aristotle on Rhetoric
Gaius Valerius Catullus
William Gilmore Simms
Thurlow Weed's Mnemonic
Clement Moore
Henri Matisse
Blaise Pascal
A Portrait of Davy Crockett
William Pitt the Younger
Presidential Birthdays


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