It's a Small World, Over Here and Over There
History as we understand it is not a simple straightforward narrative. Dear God, no. History is more than just a chronicle of past events, it's a mind-bogglingly complex mechanism made of vast interconnected components, each comprised of everything from individual action to era-appropriate prejudices; from disparity of resources to cultural evolution; from religion to warfare; from art to politics; from reverence to tradition to open defiance of tradition and the conflict thereof.
Typically, there are two popular and diametrically opposed approaches to history. There's the common "Great Man" theory, which focuses all the thrusts and revolutions and actions of any historical context on individuals, giving them credit for vast movements or perhaps giving too much credit to individuals who happened to be in the right place at the right time. This is the theory that would have you think George Washington and his cabinet alone were the supreme architects of the American R