Greatest benefactor of humanity among all world leaders of history

Feb 2019
669
Thrace
Out of all the state leaders in human history, which one do you view as having had the greatest contribution to the advancement and well being of humanity. A clear distinction I want to make is that in "greatest leaders" topics, we throw away 21st century agendas and judge each historical figure on his own terms; it's only fair to do so. But this specific question requires a retrospective view and allows hindsight in one's assessment. For example, Tamerlane was surely one of the most formidable leaders of his age but few would rank him as one of the great benefactors of humanity.

So in naming your choice, please judge solely on how much you think said leader had a positive impact (whatever your subjective definition of that may be) on the world.
 
Feb 2019
669
Thrace
"Great men" are seldom good men, so this is actually a really tough question to answer. I can't think of any off the top of my head. i'm sure there were some, but I can't think of them.
I suspected people would name leaders that are generally considered architects of the Western World (e.g. Alexander, Augustus) but of course, while Alexander's military achievements only add to his standing in "greatest leaders' lists, the fact that his actions directly lead to a large number of deaths should reduce his score. Abraham Lincoln might be a plausible choice considering he abolished slavery in America.

But I hope people will offer alternative options.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,350
Kansas
Out of all the state leaders in human history, which one do you view as having had the greatest contribution to the advancement and well being of humanity. A clear distinction I want to make is that in "greatest leaders" topics, we throw away 21st century agendas and judge each historical figure on his own terms; it's only fair to do so. But this specific question requires a retrospective view and allows hindsight in one's assessment. For example, Tamerlane was surely one of the most formidable leaders of his age but few would rank him as one of the great benefactors of humanity.

So in naming your choice, please judge solely on how much you think said leader had a positive impact (whatever your subjective definition of that may be) on the world.
Mikhail Gorbochov

After so many years it was nice to wake up and think nuclear annihilation had been taken off the table as a way I would probably end my life
 
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May 2018
141
Houston, TX
Mikhail Gorbochov

After so many years it was nice to wake up and think nuclear annihilation had been taken off the table as a way I would probably end my life
I feel similarly towards Gorbachev. However, I think that nuclear annihilation has not been taken off the table so much as it has been reduced in size and put on a table in the back room. There are still many thousands of nuclear weapons on both sides, many of which are in a state for prompt delivery.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,426
Portugal
The already mentioned Mikhail Gorbochov is a good name.

The USA President Woodrow Wilson:

I think is Fourteen points were an honest and idealistic tentative to end the war and resolve some of the problems the world had at the time.

Not a state leader, but the Swiss Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, also left an interesting legacy.
 
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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,685
Netherlands
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
 
Mar 2018
961
UK
To add a bit of ancient history to the mix, I think Augustus did a lot of good. Sure, he killed a lot of people and was a tyrant. BUT, in the context of the time that was probably necessary and starting off the Pax Romana did an awful lot of good to a great many people for a few centuries. Who knows what chaos might have engulfed the Mediterranean if not for him? What technological, social or religious innovations would never have happened?
 
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Nov 2016
1,563
Germany
Sure, he killed a lot of people and was a tyrant. BUT, in the context of the time that was probably necessary and starting off the Pax Romana did an awful lot of good to a great many people for a few centuries. Who knows what chaos might have engulfed the Mediterranean if not for him? What technological, social or religious innovations would never have happened?
I find it problematic to describe Augustus as a benefactor because there was a relative peace under his rule. A peace bought with so much suffering and blood is not a good peace when you look at the overall picture. It is easy to say that victims were necessary for peace, if you are not among the victims... It is well known that his rule came about through merciless violence and terrorism. His proscription lists were notorious. He even had Cicero, who had supported him for a time, murdered and publicly displayed his severed head and hands in Rome. How can such a monster be a benefactor?

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Many 1000 nobles suffered the same fate until the old nobility was almost extinguished.

As emperor he was very reactionary and narrow-minded. He had disagreeable books burned, and relatives who disagreed with his family ideology were called "abscesses" and banished to distant islands. Also the poet Ovid was banished by Augustus without knowing the reason.

The fact that he went down in history as a luminous figure is mainly due to his PR genius, i.e. his ideological self-marketing.

The highlight of his social reforms were marriage laws that forced men over 25 and women over 20 to marry. Each couple was to have at least three children. Infidelity was made a punishable offence. On the death of his wife or in the event of divorce, a man had only a hundred days to find a new wife.

Absurd...
 
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