To what degree are they merely victims or puppets of the elite? To what extent are they active shapers of history? Explain the most salient examples over time.

Sample Answer

Sample Answer



Title: The Dynamics of Influence: Exploring the Role of Individuals in History


The debate surrounding the extent to which individuals are influenced by the elite versus their active shaping of history has been a topic of contention throughout the annals of time. This essay aims to delve into this discourse by analyzing historical examples that illustrate both perspectives, highlighting instances where individuals have been perceived as victims or puppets of the elite, as well as cases where they have actively shaped history through their actions.

Victims or Puppets of the Elite

Throughout history, many individuals have been seen as victims or puppets of the elite, manipulated or controlled by those in power for their own agendas. One such example is the Russian Revolution of 1917, where Tsar Nicholas II’s inability to address the socio-economic issues facing Russia led to his eventual overthrow by revolutionary forces. Nicholas II’s actions (or lack thereof) were heavily influenced by the elite circles surrounding him, ultimately shaping the course of Russian history.

Similarly, during the era of colonialism, indigenous populations in various regions were often oppressed and exploited by colonial powers, rendering them victims of elite-driven agendas. The imposition of unfair policies, land seizures, and cultural subjugation exemplified how individuals were marginalized and controlled by the ruling elite for economic gain and geopolitical dominance.

Active Shapers of History

Conversely, history is replete with examples of individuals who have acted as active shapers of history, steering the course of events through their vision, leadership, and resilience. One notable example is Mahatma Gandhi, whose nonviolent resistance movement played a pivotal role in India’s independence from British colonial rule. Gandhi’s moral authority and civil disobedience tactics not only galvanized the Indian masses but also garnered international support, leading to significant political changes.

Another exemplar of an individual actively shaping history is Martin Luther King Jr., whose leadership in the American Civil Rights Movement transformed the landscape of racial equality in the United States. King’s advocacy for nonviolent protest and racial justice not only mobilized millions but also catalyzed legislative changes that dismantled institutionalized segregation and discrimination.


In conclusion, the interplay between individuals being victims or puppets of the elite versus active shapers of history is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. While some historical figures have succumbed to external influences and power dynamics orchestrated by the elite, others have risen above adversity to become architects of change and progress. The examples of individuals like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. underscore the transformative impact that visionary leaders can have on shaping the course of history, challenging existing power structures, and championing social justice and equality.

The dialectic between victimhood and agency in historical narratives serves as a reminder of the inherent complexities and nuances involved in understanding the role of individuals in shaping the trajectory of societies. By examining historical contexts through a critical lens that acknowledges both passive victimization and active agency, we can appreciate the diverse ways in which individuals navigate power dynamics, influence social change, and leave indelible marks on the pages of history.


– Editors. (2009). Mahatma Gandhi. History.
– The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. (n.d.). The King Philosophy.



This question has been answered.

Get Answer