Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Comparison of Influence

Before I start the main history post, I want to announce something, on the left in the sidebar I have set up a minipoll. Please go see it and take part in it. All you have to do is make a choice and vote. It will give me some information on my priorities for this site.

In history, there are often many single people who in different ways have profound effects on the world we live in. They almost single-handedly change the course of history by doing the seemingly impossible and completely unexpected. In this post I will discuss two. One is most famous in the West right now, and is taught about in every classroom in the United States. He raised and trained a ragtag rebel army and managed to outmaneuver the most powerful army in the world of the largest empire at that time. Eventually he was able to defeat it and secure independence for his nation.

The other man was born in one of the most ruthless, violent, and desolate regions on Earth. Only populated by constantly warring and fiercely independent nomadic tribes always fighting over the scarce recourses. This man united all of these people into one nation, and with his force of personality turned them into one people who would always obey him. After this he set out to, by himself, defeat the longest-lasting civilization on Earth and conquer much of it. Then he took on another strong, but more youthful, civilization. Both of these he shattered to pieces. In doing this he conquered half the known world and brought together two different worlds.

This post will compare how much each of these men influenced their and our world.

The two men I just told about are George Washington and Genghis Khan, respectively. One is one of the most famous men alive, the latter is too often remembered for his cruelty. Both men, no matter how viewed, changed history.

The first point I want to compare the two with is how influential they were during their lives. Now, George Washington managed to defeat the British army, which led to Great Britain to recognize the United States as a country. These events had their biggest effects on the U.S. itself. Besides Great Britain and France, little of the world was touched. On the other hand Genghis Khan changed the lives of everyone within his enormous empire and greatly altered the lives of many of the people bordering his empire during his lifetime. It would have been surprising for a German to suddenly find himself a few days’ ride from the border of an Asiatic Empire. During Washington’s time the world was just barely starting to react to American independence. Yes it is true the United States is now the most powerful nation, but Washington did not by himself make the U.S. a world power in his life. I will the example of building a house. What Washington did was construct the foundation; his actions eventually lead to what the U.S. is now. Genghis Khan however would have built the entire house, the Mongol rise to world dominance was accomplished by him as the leader. If Washington did what Genghis did, he would have made the U.S. into a world megapower back then, during his life.

The other two points, influence in today's world and difficulty of task faced, will come consecutively at later times.

1 comment:

The Sovereign Editor said...

It seems that Genghis Khan's armies may be responsible for introducing the hamburger patty to the West. Do you know what this means? Wendy's, McDonalds, and Burger King (which might be called world commercial empires) might not exist were it not for this Mongol king.

Courtesy of Ask Yahoo for April 18