History (General) Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

"The history of the world is but the biography of great men"—so the Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) summarized the impact of figures like Alexander the Great. How would you construct an argument in support of this proposition? How would you refute it?

Expert Answers info

Susana Scanlon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write793 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Law and Politics

One way to support this thesis is to explain how these great men changed the world. Indeed, Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) was the quintessential great man. Although he perished at the young age of thirty-two, his accomplishments and legacy were phenomenal. He conquered most of the known world and never lost a battle. His courage was unparalleled. His conquests spread Hellenism through much of the known world. Hellenism gave us important ideas about philosophy, art, law, politics, and other subjects.

The problem with learning history by studying great men is that the lives of common people are too often overlooked. Great men are often remembered for their military and political achievements. They can also be famous—as with Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)—for their artistic prowess or inventive genius. But the impact of great men on the lives of ordinary...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 420 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write7,052 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial