What HISTORICAL figure would you assassinate, given the chance?

You don’t know much about the Civil War. Franco found himself leading it strictly by accident; specifically, the plane crash which killed the organizers.

I’d go back to the 1930’s and assassinate Harry Anslinger, then Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Thanks to him, cannabis users have been arrested at the rate of 1 every 40 seconds since 1993, most for possession.

There are so many things wrong with this statement I don’t know wether to fight the ignorance or get it printed on a T-shirt.

Let me just sum up with this: There is (was) no such thing as the “dark” ages. And even if there were, the Library of Alexandria had nothing to do with it.

That’s the trouble with being an historian: You can’t really imagine removing one life will make that much difference.

I have problems with this statement.

ISTM that while there are a lot of mass movements in history that cannot be stopped simply by killing, or removing, a single person, there are some hugely affecting events that can be traced back to a single person.

Killing Caesar to prevent the Gallic Wars wouldn’t have done any good - the Roman Empire was expansionistic long before Caesar’s birth, and continued so even after his death. Similarly, one of the ideas I’d had but threw out before I mentioned it up thread was assassinating the Pope who came up with the division of the world between Spain and Portugal. I still think it’s a lousy idea, and one that contributed to a huge amount of human suffering. But I no reason to believe that this decision was imposed on the Church by a single person. And I believe it to have been a compromise of sorts. As bad as it was, giving the world, exclusively, to either Spain, or Portugal, would have been worse.

But there are some single-person empires in history. Assassinate Phillip of Macedon, and the empire of Alexander never comes to pass, the Diadochi is obviated, and a lot of peoples in the ancient world aren’t going to be killed, or starved in one of the worst series of civil wars in history.

Similarly, I question whether Tamerlane would have risen to authority without the actions of Genghis Khan.

Such examples are rare in history, but they do exist.

I’d go with Cromwell, not only because he probably killed a lot of my ancestors but because while lost in the desert in August I became severely dehydrated walking down a street called Cromwell.

If Cromwell hadn’t existed, I would have suffered dehydration while going down a different street.

History is full of examples that removing one person will change history. What I meant was that it is hard to come up with a single life that you could remove to make things today any measurably better.

Well, sure, except that the deal with Lilith obviously predates the whole business with the talking snake and the apple tree. Lilith was created from the dust same as ole red-man, which is why she refused to submit; she saw no reason to treat him as her superior.

For Aslan’s sake, why doesn’t everybody know this? What DO they teach in these schools?

They both fail the “died more than 30 years ago” test.

I rather suspect that involves some massive genetic engineering. Your replicator won’t be very helpful with that, unless you happen to know how to make the devices you need already.

I am sure the mods will soon have a word with you, but I´ll have you know that Eve is one of my favorite posters of all…


Oh, you mean that Eve. Nevermind.

Excellent book. Just excellent.

We can do better than that. Ameliorate the situation by going up two steps on the Hohenzollern family tree and kill Wilhelm I after his son, the moderate, well-educated, open-minded Frederick III attains his majority. Although Frederick was an excellent military commander, Wilhelm I felt his heir’s intellectual pursuits and willingness to deal with other nations ran counter to Prussian (and, later, Imperial German) ideals and cut him out of the political process and isolated him from his children, who were educated by Wilhelm-approved tutors who turned them against their liberal parents. Then Wilhelm I managed to live basically forever, probably out of spite, and Frederick III only ruled for 99 days before dying of throat cancer.

Kill Wilhelm I shortly after German unification, and Frederick would have been able to smooth out the wrinkles of the newly former empire instead of escalating tensions among warring factions as his father did. Bismarck likely would not have come to power, and though Wilhelm II would still be unstable and unpredictable, he would not be educated in an environment of unswerving jingoism and scorn for compromise.

Then Mary I becomes queen as a teenager. Would she have married the King of France or the Dauphin? Would she have married a Spanish prince (as she did in real life)? Would it have stopped the ascent of Protestantism in England? Who knows. But it would have meant that Elizabeth I would not have been born, and probably would have brought Mary Queen of Scots to the throne in England, and both those things might have caused much more messiness in English history.

What does it matter? Any choice we make is risky, and the more prominent change we make, the less well-equipped we are to deal with the fallout (since our knowledge of the future is worth precise 1.5 bupkises once the trigger’s pulled).

I’m trying to decide whether any one person was particularly prominent in promoting the enclosure of lands in England and Scotland. Denying peasants their ancestral rights of the commons, sending them landless or homeless to the cities to labour in the mills, disconnecting them from the land and making them reliant on the money economy… all this led toward the situation we have now where people are dependent on wages for their necessities of life. I’d like to break that stranglehold a little.

Hmm. On reading the wiki article, it may have been a much longer process than I thought.

And we’ve seen what happens when societies attempt to do away with religion, anyway.

Religium is the opium of the masses, Communism the heroin?

John Wilkes Booth. IIRC, Andrew Johnson was very very much into punishing the South, which led to Reconstruction and the disenfranchisement of Southerners, which may have lead to the rise of the KKK. Lincoln was much more “let’s get back together and put this unpleasantness behind us.” Who knows, we may not have needed the civil rights actions of the 60s…it may have come about naturally much sooner.

ivylass and Sampiro, the problem with stopping John Wilkes Booth that I see is that there was a lot of people with a hard on for screwing the South after the Civil War. And for all that Lincoln did manage to impose his will on a reluctant country - that was during a time of war. I’m far less certain he, alone, would have been enough to prevent the punishing effects of Reconstruction.

I’m going to have to go with Newton.

That whole gravity thing is such a drag.