Are the Bad Guys in History Really the Good Guys?

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By Unknown — The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=150022

Typically we look at history in a black and white manner. There are good guys, and there are bad guys. There are the ones we hate, and there are the ones we cheer for. Enough said, right? But when you really start investigating, you begin to question whether the bad guys are really so bad. Maybe, just maybe, history has given them a bad rap.

When you ask someone to name the bad guys in history, you can get quite a few different answers. I tend to get Hitler, Stalin, and a few serial killers. Bad guys? I don’t think many of us would argue that fact.

Some will even throw in a president or two especially any that were elected in the last decade or two. I’m always shocked and then in sad humor when I see one of the presidents listed as the Anti-Christ. That’s when you realize that the term ‘bad guy’ is a relative term.

When you start to dive into this question, you realize how the word ‘bad’ can be interpreted so differently among different people. If they killed people, most would call the killers ‘bad.’ Then again, why did they kill? See how it is not always so cut and dry?

Maybe what makes one bad in one generation is not bad in another. After all, during one period of our history, a slave owner was respected and revered. Now one would be frowned upon and even arrested. Today’s bad guy could be the hero in future generations.

So how do you decide on who the bad guys are?

To really get to know someone, you have to look beyond the surface and what the media has painted them to be. Remember that it is all a matter of perspective. People use Lucrezia Borgia as an example of a treacherous woman who used her body to get what she wanted and didn’t mind the blood that she left behind. A careful study of all of history and not just that written by her father’s enemies, you’ll discover that the girl/woman was a mere pawn in the political machine her Pope father ran.

What about Napoleon? To many people, he is considered one of the most evil men in history equal to that of Hitler and Stalin. Does he deserve that status? When you study Napoleon, you might find yourself scratching your head as to why he deserves such a villainous status. I’m not saying he was a saint, but the level of evil attributed to him is unwarranted. All the man wanted to do was take over Europe.

What we have been taught in history is not always what represents the truth. As the loudest voices and those with the most sway get the attention, you have to look beyond the facade of history and look at the truth. Dig into the truth and you might be rethinking many bad guys.

One way to really answer the question of this entire piece is to challenge traditional views on the person. If a particular guy is cast as an evil villain, challenge that. Don’t accept it at face value. Even if you know for sure the person is evil, challenge it anyway. When you do that, you discover some very interesting facts.

Writers are known for being creative and sometimes controversial. They can see so many what-if scenarios.

Written by

Writer for ten years, lover of education, and degrees in business, history, and English. Striving to become a Renassiance woman. www.writerrebeccagraf.com

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