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I agree with number 6 that writers have made an impact. I would say whichever caveman first used fire to cook food and keep out predators was the person who changed the world most. If not him, then perhaps the one that decided to start planting crops instead of gathering. We have no idea who these people were, but they changed the course of history.
In theological terms, I'd add Martin Luther.
Since the United States has had such a strong effect on the world that last 200 years I'd say Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
For his civil rights work, Martin Luther King.
How about Thomas Edison for helping bring about a lot of modern devices?
I would put Johannes Gutenberg high up on the list as well. His introduction of the printing press and movable type printing to Europe could be argued as the foundations of many of the key intellectual movements that ushered in the modern era in the Western world.
Should we add some influential military figures into contention for this title? People like Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great can be said to have changed the shape of the world in their lifetimes... Ghengis Khan was another influential military figure from antiquity.
I would argue that the actions and thought of Jesus himself were more important from a world history perspective than those of his mother. But I do agree that Jesus belongs at or near the top of a very short list of people who changed the world more than any others. I would put Muhammad and the Buddha up there too, as well as Plato, whose thought influenced, in various ways, the religions that were based on the thought and actions of these figures.
I do believe that all the the writers brought something new to our life. They are our lamps in darkness, they are guides, and reading their books or novels or whatever they wrote is really both intersting and comforting. Some of these writers may include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Hardy? Charles Dickens, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain.....
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