What three questions would we ask a famous historical figure?
ONE historical figure?
I not only simply enjoy history, I married a history major, so historical figures are discussed a great deal in our house. This is a really difficult decision.
We do discussed who we’d like to meet. I’d like to have conversations with many people, but three questions? Hmmm.
There are many great minds with whom I would like to speak, from Copernicus to John Adams, Galileo to Louis Pasteur, Mendel to Bell, Gutenberg to Einstein, but what would I actually ASK them? I’d like to just get them into conversations.
Contemplating this, I looked online to see lists of whom others considered ‘influential’ historical figures, hoping to spur my imagination, and wow, do ideas vary out there.
Of the lists of ‘All-Time Most Influential People’, Jesus ranks first on most of them. Even most non-Christians/ anti-Christians concede to that, although one list put Him behind Mohammad and Albert Einstein. I have to admit that they certainly influenced the world greatly, but golly.
Other lists have many of the people I listed above, but also have Elvis as being instrumental, (pardon the pun), and Anne Frank next to him. I have no doubt that millions have been touched by her diary as it was published, but one can hardly put her down as changing the world and then leave off Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose book truly influenced America,( and therefore, the world), charging up much of the population against slavery.
Going back to my ideas, well, another person who I listed on this blog as wanting to talk to, (by taking him on a road trip), was George Washington Carver. However, President George Washington was the first historical figure who popped to mind when I was considering asking questions.
I would ask George, (hey, we’re friends in my fantasy), what was the one point that made him rebel against British rule, the one thing that was the last straw for him? After all, this was a momentous decision, with no turning back, with death upon capture, not to mention the risk of the fighting itself. (My personal historian is giving me all kinds of suppositions, but I’d like to know George’s “That’s IT!” moment.)
I’d ask where he found the strength, the self-control, the humility to turn down being named “King” of America? Yes, he fought against the tyranny of that type of government, but surely, most men in his position would think that surely, THEY would handle it well. George knew the temptations that kind of power provided and flatly turned it down. You have to admire that.
There are other points I’d like to speak about with him. His reconciliation of his conscience to his personal slaves, for one; his generally considered disastrous involvements in the French and Indian War, and also, his conscience over his victories.
Another discussion would be about his appreciation for Martha, a woman of great wealth and means, but also of great character. She drove a wagon of provisions herself to Valley Forge. She decided to forego dressing up during most of the war, and in fact, she used parts of her dressier dresses to make uniforms for the army. She gathered the women in her circle of friends to Mount Vernon, where they ripped the braid from her gowns and sewed them, by hand, to other parts of her clothing which they had made into uniforms, by hand.
And I’d speak with him of his great job as a step-father and grandfather.
But I have one final, personal question for him:
“General, may I have this dance?”
By all accounts the man was, (when young), good-looking, charming and a great dancer. I have not had a chance to dance much outside of my very young days at school. (We won’t discuss my teen years. Family problems kept me from dances.) I married a man who has really no interest in dancing and even when pushed at obligatory school dances, ( square dances, 50s dances, etc.) and weddings, the man truly cannot dance, and never has never been really inclined to even gave it much of a try.
I would really love to join in a nice Virginia Reel, in which, I am sure, George would be an excellent partner.
Hey, when I fantasize, I cover all the bases!