While most politicians and military leaders in history were more or less squabbling about trivial matters, or worse, going to war for no good reason, there were some leaders who truly made a difference when they had their time in the spotlight. True servants of the people, these great leaders have shaped the world we know today, and without them, we'd definitely be looking at a much bleaker existence.
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Although largely forgotten today, Asoka the Great was the last of the great leaders of the Indian Empire of Maurya, as well as a leader who had both great strength and remarkable compassion. After the Kalinga War, he was so moved by the suffering he witnessed that he denounced his wealth and status and adopted Buddhism instead.
2 Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, widely known as Mahatma, led the movement for India's independence in the 1920s-1940s, facing the British colonialists not through violence, but with peaceful protests and stirring speeches. Mahatma showed the world that one man can have the power to take on an empire, using only intelligence and ethics. October 2, Gandhi's birthday, is now celebrated all around the globe as the International Day of Nonviolence.
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3 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was undoubtedly a great historical leader who has changed the world for the better. He was the British prime minister during WW2 and became a symbol for all other Allied nations to stand up and stand together against the Nazis. Churchill's determination and patriotic devotion have eventually led the Allied forces on the path to victory.
4 Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc was a young peasant girl who lived in France in the early 1400s. Claiming to have been chosen by God to lead the French army in their war against the British, Joan convinced the crown prince to let her lead an army to the battered city of Orleans, where she achieved a remarkable victory. Later captured and burnt at the stake by Anglo-Burgundian forces at the young age of 19, Joan became known as a martyr, a saint and a symbol of French nationalism.
5 George Washington
Without a doubt one of the greatest leaders in history who have changed the world, George Washington was the founding father of the United States of America, as well as its first official president. He led the American Revolution, and, without his outstanding vision, the US would probably never have become the super power it is today.
6 Nelson Mandela
When you think of the most fearless fighters against racial discrimination, you can't help but remember the great man who was Nelson Mandela. After having become the first elected president of South Africa, he worked relentlessly against racial discrimination and became the face of the Anti-Apartheid movement. Even after spending 30 years in jail because of his actions, he still had the will power to continue his great work.
7 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the man who held America together during its darkest hour, leading the country through the Civil War. He is also known for signing the Emancipation Proclamation and ending slavery in the United States. His courage, conviction, oratory skills, humbleness and compassion made Lincoln one of the greatest leaders of all time.
Great leaders come up in each and every era, and there are quite a few of them alive even today. Do you know any of the ones I haven't added to this list? Which modern leaders would you compare with the ones mentioned here?
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