What does the example of Geronimo tell us about the debate between the exceptional leader and the historical inevitability theories of history.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Geronimo tells us something about where the limits of both the exceptional leader theory and the historical inevitability theory are.

The exceptional leader theory can tell us some things about relatively small-scale events that the historical inevitability theory cannot.  The presence of Geronimo, for example, might have helped the Apache remain “free” for a few years longer than they otherwise would have.  However, the historical inevitability theory tells us more about the broader trends.  No matter how great a leader he might have been, Geronimo would never have been able to win his war against the encroaching white settlers.

Thus, the example of Geronimo shows us that both of these theories have merit, but both have limits as well.