What Drives History?

What drives history? Before we answer this question, we must go deeper and answer a more important question: What is history? History is, simply, all of the events, ideas, people, and occurrences that have existed in the past. These things have been driven by one common factor: individuals. Although individuals driving history may seem like a rather simple answer, it is the only one that provides no flaws. One such individual who has driven history is Martin Luther. Luther, a German monk, was an inspirational figure who struggled to encourage people to think more for themselves.

Martin Luther had an unconventional way of viewing the Church at the time. Luther believed that it was wrong for the Church to sell indulgences or “forgiveness from god. ” Martin Luther thought that salvation could only be achieved through performing good deeds. During Luther’s protesting, he created the “95 Theses,” which were a list of arguments and problems against the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was a very strong leader, and through his teachings, many people began to follow him and share their beliefs.

Eventually, this lead to the Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church, and caused a sect to break off, known as the Protestants. This drastic change lead to an immense conflict between both groups which eventually caused the ostracism of the Protestant sect to the Americas. This relocation created many thoughts that influenced the rest of the world. Martin Luther’s ideas and teachings not only drove history in the past, but they continue to drive the present day. Another important individual who drove history was the Italian astronomer and scientist Galileo Galilei.

Galileo discovered something so important that it changed the selfish perspective that humans were the center of the universe and led to the growth of human knowledge. Utilizing mathematics and a telescope he had developed, Galileo observed that the planets revolved around the sun and not the Earth. This was a significant discovery because not only did it contradict what the church had taught, it also showed that the universe was not what it seemed. With this truth uncovered, many people began to fascinate over the universe.

This triggered people to begin studying space extensively and eventually lead to present day space exploration. Galileo also left a lasting impression upon many great minds, such as Sir Isaac Newton, who used Galileo’s research and theories to further his own studies such as the physical laws, and their properties. Although Galileo’s research was for self-satisfaction, his discoveries lead people to develop their own individual minds and follow their own goals in life.

As one can see, Galileo’s teachings were very influential in his day, and have lead to the present day sciences. Therefor an individual has yet again driven history. A final example of an individual who has driven history is the European philosopher Robert Owen. Owen was a man who derived a new system of economy, which we call socialism. Owen tried to develop a society where all the industries, means of distribution, and production of goods were controlled by the government.

In this society, many common living problems were easily solved, such as the banning of child labor, free education, and most importantly, people receiving equal benefits and opportunities. Equality was a large part of Owen’s socialist society, which appealed to all citizens. Even though Owen’s society failed economically, many people consider it a success. Nevertheless, Owen’s ideas and teachings were later incorporated into many societies we see today. The economies of many Scandinavian Countries are socialist-based, and they prove to be very effective.

Owen gave people a new way to think about how a society could be run fairly, and these ideas changed how people lived, thus driving history. If one views these three individuals, a religious monk, a scientist, and a philosopher, one can determine that individuals from every field drive history. There are innumerable people who have contributed to the growth of the human race. History is not driven by greed, not by necessity, but by the individual people who apply their knowledge to the conditions of their present world.


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