20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead

Steve - August 4, 2019

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
Photograph of Martin Luther King (c. 1964). Wikimedia Commons.

6. Martin Luther King Jr. deserves the opportunity to pass judgment on the fifty years since his murder and determine whether America has actually moved forwards

An American Baptist minister who rose to become the most visible spokesperson of the Civil Rights Movements, Martin Luther King Jr. remains to this day one of the most respected individuals from modern history. Leading the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and elected the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, following the failed struggle in 1962 to end segregation in Albany, Georgia, King helped organize the now-famous March on Washington a year later. Delivering his universally acclaimed and celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King proclaimed a vision of the future without racial hatred or discrimination.

Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, recognizing both his activism but also his passionate conviction in nonviolent resistance, in 1965 King was a leading figure in the Selma to Montgomery marches. Planning a national occupation of Washington D.C. in 1968, on April 4 of the same year King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, by James Earl Ray. Posthumously awarded the nation’s highest honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – as well as commemorated by a federal holiday and memorial on the National Mall, King deserved the chance to provide an honest assessment of the ongoing struggle for racial equality and whether or not his dream, even now fifty years on, has been realized.

Read More: June 8, 1968: James Earl Ray is Arrested.

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales, illustrating Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (c. 1932). Wikimedia Commons.

5. The returns of varying religious founders would provide much-needed clarity on the disputed subject of religion

One of the most controversial components of human existence, religion continues to both unite and divide the various tribes of our species throughout the world. Inspiring great works of devotion and sacrifice, as well as tremendous acts of violence and hatred in the name of divine authority, the ultimate question of the universe is one that likely cannot ever be conclusively answered via rational scientific means but instead depends upon the individual logic or faith of each person. That would be unless one could converse with the founders of each world religion, to dissect and analyze their own claims firsthand.

Whilst modern scholars debate the historicity of Jesus and his miracles, of the Buddha and his conversion from Siddhartha Gautama to a religious leader, or of Mohammad and the divine revelation he supposedly received in the Cave of Hira, these inquiries can be far more definitively answered via the specific individuals in question. Resulting in either the unification of humanity under a single banner of one true religion following recorded demonstration of the divine, or the death knell of religion and the emergence of humanity into an age of secular reason, one cannot deny the rationality nor usefulness of bringing such people back from the dead.

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
Photograph of Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his television program, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (c. September 2, 1955). Wikimedia Commons.

4. The resumption of Alfred Hitchcock’s career could only mean original and modern thrillers on a level rarely seen by today’s audiences

Widely considered among the greatest and most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Sir Alfred Hitchcock was an English director and producer active across a six-decade career spanning from 1919 to 1980. Known as the “Master of Suspense“, Hitchcock was personally responsible for directing more than fifty feature films, becoming in the process as famous as his actors and arguably the first modern celebrity filmmaker. Entering the industry in 1919 as a title card designer, Hitchcock made his directorial debut just six years later with The Pleasure Garden before starting to make impactful contributions to the thriller genre in 1927 with The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.

Garnering a total of forty-six Oscar nominations for his movies, winning six, Hitchcock lent his name to his unique style of film-making, employing the use of camera movements to mimic a person’s gaze as to transform viewers in voyeurs and maximize anxiety. Directing four films regarded as among the greatest of all time – Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho – eight of his films have been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. With the advances of modern cinema at this disposal, and with a noticeable dearth of high-quality theatrical content, Hitchcock’s renewal would be a welcome addition to today’s over-saturated blockbuster-dominated medium.

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, by Joseph Duplessis (c. 1785). Wikimedia Commons.

3. Benjamin Franklin was not only instrumental in laying the foundations of the United States but resided at the forefront of science and technology

A polymath who would become one of the most remembered Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin enjoyed an illustrious career ranging from being an author, a scientist, and finally a statesman. Across a life that almost spanned the entirety of the eighteenth century, Franklin served as one of the foremost figures of the American Enlightenment. Responsible for numerous inventions, most prominently the lightning rod, bifocals, and an eponymous stove, Franklin is widely celebrated today for his discoveries and theories relating to electricity as well as founding the University of Pennsylvania.

Earning the title of “The First American“, Franklin was one of the earliest advocates of colonial unity and independence. Serving as the nation’s first ambassador to France, Franklin was instrumental in forging and maintaining the vital Franco-American alliance that proved essential to achieving victory against the British in the Revolutionary War. Laying the foundations as the inaugural Postmaster General for the country’s communications network, Franklin’s interests were wide-ranging and impactful. Like Washington, Franklin – who is also depicted on American currency, appearing on the one hundred dollar bill – similarly deserves the chance to pass judgment on his successors whilst also enjoying the inventions which followed his own.

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
Portrait of Herbert George Wells by George Charles Beresford (c. 1920). Wikimedia Commons.

2. H.G. Wells predicted many of the everyday technologies we depend upon today and it is only fair he be permitted to also enjoy them

A forward-looking social critic, Herbert George Wells is today most remembered for his artistic contributions as an author and the “father of science fiction“. However, during his own lifetime, Wells was known best as a futurist and progressive commentator, envisioning a brighter path ahead for humanity and attempting to encourage mankind to tread said road. Foreseeing the advent of aircraft, mechanized warfare, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellites, and even the Internet, Wells’ imagination bore no limitations. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times, Wells’ acclaimed works include The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds.

However, Wells was more than simply a visionary author, campaigning also as a committed socialist. Supporting the short-lived League of Nations as a means to potentially unite humanity and end future conflicts, the failure of the organization weighed heavily on Wells. Penning The Rights of Man in 1940, the influential text laid the groundwork for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights eight years later. Sadly, Wells did not live to see his moral vision instituted globally, dying in 1946, and it would be only fair to permit Wells to see the world he could only dream about within the pages of his novels.

20 Historical Figures that We Would Love to Bring Back from the Dead
Portrait of Galileo Galilei, by Justus Sustermans (c. 1640). Wikimedia Commons.

1. The father of modern science, Galileo Galilei was persecuted by the Catholic Church despite the veracity of his claims

Considered the father of several disciplines and fields, including observational astronomy, modern physics, the scientific method, and even modern science in general, Galileo Galilei was an Italian polymath who lived during the Renaissance period. Championing the heliocentric interpretation of the universe proposed by Copernicus in 1543 – twenty-one years prior to Galileo’s own birth – in opposition to the prevailing geocentric models of the time, Galileo’s consistent and ardent defense of the theory ultimately attracted unsavory attention. Drawing the ire of the Roman Inquisition, after decades of ill-treatment and abuse Galileo was eventually accused of heresy in 1633.

Found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, Galileo was forced to recant his scientific beliefs, in particular, that the Sun lies at the center and around which the Earth revolves. Sentenced to life imprisonment, commuted to house arrest, for the remainder of his life, Galileo used his final years to condense and publish prior research and ideas on subjects of physics spanning speed and gravity to relativity and motion. One of the foremost scientists in human history, Galileo deserves not only to know his steady conviction in his theories was well-founded but to experience the wonders of the modern age he helped to build.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Mozart: A Cultural Biography”, Robert Gutman, Harcourt Brace (2000)

“The Life of Mozart”, Edward Holmes, Cosimo Classics (2005)

“The Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt”, George McJimsey, University Press of Kansas (2000)

“The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio To Win The Presidency”, James Tobin, Simon and Schuster (2013)

“Einstein: A Life”, Denis Brian, John Wiley and Sons (1996)

“Einstein: His Life and Universe”, Walter Isaacson, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks (2007)

“Plato: A Beginner’s Guide”, Roy Jackson, Hoder and Stroughton Publishing (2001)

“On Socrates”, Hope May, Wadsworth Publishing (2000)

“Joan of Arc: A Military Leader”, Kelly DeVries, Sutton Publishing (1999)

“Joan of Arc”, Edward Lucie-Smith, Allen Lane Publishing (1976)

“Shakespeare: The Biography”, Peter Ackroyd, Vintage Books (2006)

“Shakespeare’s Life and Work”, Sidney Lee, Smith, Elder & Company (1900)

“George Washington: A Biography”, John R. Alden, Louisiana State University Press (1996)

“George Washington: Foundation of Presidential Leadership and Character”, Ethan M. Fishman, William D. Pederson, and Mark J. Rozell, Greenwood Publishing Group (2001)

“Leonardo da Vinci: Artist, Scientist, Inventor”, Simona Cremante, Giunti Press (2005)

“Julius Caesar: The People’s Dictator”, Luciano Canfora, Edinburgh University Press (2006)

“Caesar: Life of a Colossus”, Adrian Goldsworthy, Yale University Press (2006)

“Alan Turing: His Work and Impact”, Barry S. Cooper, Elsevier Publishing (2013)

“Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Code-Breaking Computers”, Jack B. Copeland, Oxford University Press (2006)

“Aristotle the Philosopher”, J.L. Ackrill, Oxford University Press (1981)

“The Diary of a Young Girl – The Definitive Edition”, Anne Frank, Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler, Doubleday Publishing (1947)

“The Biography of Anne Frank: Roses from the Earth”, Carol Ann Lee, Gardners Books (2000)

“Michelangelo On and Off the Sistine Ceiling”, Creighton Gilbert, George Braziller Publishing (1994)

“Michelangelo, the Divine One”, ARHuelsenbeck, Medium. Oct 20, 2018

“Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests”, Stephen Turnbull, Osprey Publishing (2003)

“Martin Luther King Jr.: A Life”, Marshall Frady, Penguin Publishing (2005)

“From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice”, Thomas F. Jackson, University of Pennsylvania Press (2006)

“The Age of Faith”, Will Durant, Simon and Schuster (1980)

“Eight Theories of Religion”, Daniel L. Pals, Oxford University Press (2006)

“Hitchcock: Past and Future”, Richard Allen and S. Ishii-Gonzales, Routledge (2003)

“The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitcock”, Donald Spoto, Da Capo Press (1999)

“The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin”, H.W. Brands, Anchor Books (2002)

“Benjamin Franklin”, Edwin S. Gaustad, Oxford University Press (2008)

“H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life”, Michael Sherborne, Peter Owen Publishing (2011)

“Galileo: Antichrist, A Biography”, Michael White, Orion Publishing (2009)

“The Cambridge Companion to Galileo”, Peter Machamer, Cambridge University Press (1998)

“The truth about Galileo and his conflict with the Catholic Church”, Jessica Wolf, University of California, December 22, 2016

Advertisement