The "Great Man" Theory of History
Two famous writers have presented us with opposite theories about the influence of leaders. Thomas Carlyle wrote most passionately: "Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here." Heroes teach us right and wrong, he said; heroes give us great inventions and discoveries. It is the great few who transform society; the multitude follows them. Modern democracy, he believed, has produced millions of fools who vote, other men who go to Parliament and palaver, and, inevitably, the few who act.
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