3 Individuals

February 24, 2004

We are writing the final exam today. The kids submitted questions, and I am taking their questions and my notions and putting together a list of six essay questions for them to prepare outlines for. Two of the questions will be on the exam, and they will write about one of them. It is my standard format for a blue-book exam.

As expected, one student came up with a question that I was able revise into the sort of question that you can easily spend hours discussing in a bar or on the internet:

We talked about "great man" history. If you were asked to name the three most important and influential individuals - rulers, scientists, philosophers, or other - in Europe between 1600 and 1815, who would you name? Why these three and not others?

My answer is below the fold.

Off the top of my head, I say:
Isaac Newton
Louis XIV

The last was the only tough decision. I think that the French Revolution was very important, but which one individual would you hang the entire revolution on? I could have picked J.J. Rousseau, or the Duke of Orleans, or Lafayette, or Robespierre. I picked Mirabeau because he was the iron rod that stiffened the Third Estate and pushed them to become the National Assembly rather than being sent home.

If I had changed the start date to 1500, the list would have been Martin Luther, Louis XIV, and John Locke. And no, I am not sure why adding Luther transformes Newton into Locke.

And so to work on the exam.

Posted by Red Ted at February 24, 2004 08:11 AM | TrackBack

For some reason, I thought you had a cat named Clio.

I had a character named Clio, shortened from Cliodhna. I got the name from the Onomastikon (http://www.gaminggeeks.org/Resources/KateMonk/), and always thought it was pretty cool.

Posted by: Me at February 25, 2004 05:07 AM

So, um, not to be dense or anything, but what do Newton, Louis, and Mirabeau have to do with Clio? :)

Posted by: Me. at February 25, 2004 11:34 AM

Clio is the muse of history.

I use her name to categorize my posts about historical people and events, and to categorize my posts about the profession of being a historian.

I would not name a daughter Clio.

Posted by: Red Ted at February 25, 2004 12:42 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?