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Topic ClosedMichael Hart’s ranking of the 100 Most Influential people

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Laelius View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Michael Hart’s ranking of the 100 Most Influential people
    Posted: 23-Jun-2005 at 20:45

We're discussing his record as a general, not a politician, aren't we? Why would it be any different? All of the significant battles of the war  were won by other people, with of course the key battle being the defeat of the Royal Navy by the French in Chesapeake Bay.

 

The topic of the thread is most influential, not most capable...

 

I grant he has a place in history as a politician, more during the revolution than as first President. If he hadn't become President, who would have? Adams, Jefferson? Both of them had more impact on the development of the constitution than Washington did anyway (Adams more through the appointment of Marshall than directly).

 

First the office of the Presidency was created with George in mind second he was a prominent unifying figure during the constitutional convention and finally he created the standard against which other presidents are measured.  Besides how many great leaders became great without their trusted subordinates and allies?  History always focuses on the front man.

 

Despite the legends, Washington had no more chance of being made king than getting away with chopping down the cherry tree. There were too many brighter and more manipulative politicians around for that.

 

The army was completely behind him, who would have stopped him?

 

Why do people always refer to the Hessians as 'mercenaries'? In the sense of being paid all the King's Army (and indeed the French and American ones, no?) were mercenaries.

 

In the sense that they "rented" from Hesse-Calless.



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jun-2005 at 13:02
Originally posted by Laelius

We're discussing his record as a general, not a politician, aren't we? Why would it be any different? All of the significant battles of the war  were won by other people, with of course the key battle being the defeat of the Royal Navy by the French in Chesapeake Bay.

 

The topic of the thread is most influential, not most capable...

It seems to have got away from that. I thought the list that Washington was put top off was supposed to be of the greatest generals. I'd agree that if influential replaces capable it changes the assessment considerably. I still wouldn't put him at the top of influential military leaders. Not nearly as influential as say Augustus (another one not particularly distinguished as a military commander).

If you're going to focus on the influence they had on history, then minor military figures like Monk (the Duke of Albemarle) come into play: the restoration of the English monarchy was a pretty significant event. Or John Churchill, who could have stuck with James II but didn't.

Churchill (Marlborough) was of course himself a pretty capable military leader as well as an influential one. If we were picking teams of generals I'd certainly pick Marlborough ahead of Washington (though I'm not saying first pick).

I grant he has a place in history as a politician, more during the revolution than as first President. If he hadn't become President, who would have? Adams, Jefferson? Both of them had more impact on the development of the constitution than Washington did anyway (Adams more through the appointment of Marshall than directly).

 

First theoffice of the Presidency was created with George in mind second he was a prominent unifying figure during the constitutional convention and finally he created the standard against which other presidents are measured.  Besides how many great leaders became great without their trusted subordinates and allies?  History always focuses on the front man.

That Washington is a good candidate for history's most vaunted front man is something I'll unreservedly grant you.

Despite the legends, Washington had no more chance of being made king than getting away with chopping down the cherry tree. There were too many brighter and more manipulative politicians around for that.

 

The army was completely behind him, who would have stopped him?

By then, what army? How about a "well-regulated militia"?

Why do people always refer to the Hessians as 'mercenaries'? In the sense of being paid all the King's Army (and indeed the French and American ones, no?) were mercenaries.

 

In the sense that they "rented" from Hesse-Calless.

Apart from the fact that most of the 'Hessians' were in fact Hanoverians',  the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassell like the Duke of Brunswick was a close ally of Hanover through most of the 18th century.  'Mercenary' as a kind of derogatory term means not someone fighting for money, but someone fighting for some other country/ruler  than his own, for money.

If you're a Hessian, and the Landgrave decides to support his friend from Hanover in North America, so you go and fight there, why does that make you a mercenary, but not the Frenchman who goes because his King tells him to? Both are being paid.

By any standard that classes the 'Hessians' as mercenaries the French fighting at Yorktown were also mercenaries.

(And wasn't von Steuben a mercenary?)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jun-2005 at 14:06
yeah, allies would be a better term than mercenaries.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jun-2005 at 23:37

I thought the list that Washington was put top off was supposed to be of the greatest generals. I'd agree that if influential replaces capable it changes the assessment considerably. I still wouldn't put him at the top of influential military leaders. Not nearly as influential as say Augustus (another one not particularly distinguished as a military commander).


My arguments were largely in response to the bemused mockery of some of the forrumers.  I was largely attempting to demonstrate that George Washington was arguably one of the most influential leaders.

 

That Washington is a good candidate for history's most vaunted front man is something I'll unreservedly grant you.

 

But weren't they all front men?  Any great commander/leader has a number of subordinates who are extremely capable if not brilliant in their own right.

 

By then, what army? How about a "well-regulated militia"?

 

The remaining continental army which was at the time of Washington's order to disband several thousand strong.

 

If you're a Hessian, and the Landgrave decides to support his friend from Hanover in North America, so you go and fight there, why does that make you a mercenary, but not the Frenchman who goes because his King tells him to? Both are being paid.


Your argument would have been sound had the Hessiens been sent to America purely in support of the crown.  Yet it is true that the British paid an exhorbitant amount of money for the Hessians.  Hesse Cassell was a princedom which thrived on 'leasing' its highly professional military to the highest bidder and the price was considerable to say the least.  In fact the British looked for alternatives to the Hessians on account that their price was seen by many in parliament to be too high.  If you wish to split hairs then the Hessians were soldiers serving what was essentially a mercenary nation.

 

 



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jun-2005 at 23:38
BTW in all honesty I wouldn't have put him at the top either.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jun-2005 at 06:18
Originally posted by gcle2003

If you're a Hessian, and the Landgrave decides to support his friend from Hanover in North America, so you go and fight there, why does that make you a mercenary, but not the Frenchman who goes because his King tells him to? Both are being paid.

By any standard that classes the 'Hessians' as mercenariesthe French fighting at Yorktown were also mercenaries.

The Hessian units were placed in the British army, under British command payed for by the British crown, the French army operated as an army still under French funding and command, not as a unit subordinated to the Americans. That's your difference.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Apr-2014 at 12:18
It is surprising that emperor Asoka is ignored in the list. He belongs to 4th century BC. He conquered almost entire present India as well as Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan. Later he advocated peace and spread Buddhism in Asia including China. He was not only a military ruler but also a crusader of peace, whose influence is felt even today, even after about two and half millenniums. Who else is more qualified to be in the list?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2014 at 20:34
In reality, we must use the time elapsed from an influential person's period of influence to the present day as the most important indicator of influence. Yes, Hitler and Napoleon and George Washington were very influential, but they cannot be considered more influential than Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Muhammad, &c. A person may have only had an influence of a magnitude 10 times lower than another, but simply because their influence came earlier, there influence has been magnified to a greater significance. It is a domino effect; just because one domino was able to push down other dominoes quicker and with more force does not mean that it had a greater impact than the very first domino that the butterfly landed on and knocked over. Time is the most powerful entity when analyzing history, and it must be employed to its full power here in order to provide a more accurate picture of how influential certain persons have been on the ebb and flow of history.
"Every action has its consequences that will never fade; whether they are good or bad depends upon what attitude we employ."   ~DoubleVlad
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