term paper 53

The subject of the term paper is: “The Great Person Theory: Is It a Valid Interpretation of History?” This has been a point of controversy and historians have always adhered to divergent views. Perhaps the most illustrious and divergent views were those of the Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) and the British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889–1975). Carlyle’s support for the Great Person Theory was expressed in his most famous quote: “The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” Toynbee, on the other hand, believed that history should be an account of the birth, maturing, aging and death of societies, and he paid little attention to the role or influence of individual leaders in the historical process. He believed that economic, intellectual and religious movements determine the course of history.

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