History is written by the winners. You’ve probably heard that old saying before, right?
Well, it’s true and that’s why some people from history have been cast as “bad guys” for decades and centuries even though they may not have deserved it.
So what historical figures that are usually seen in a negative light weren’t actually all that bad?
Here’s what folks on AskReddit had to say about this.
1. How about this one?
The dude actually thought Jesus was innocent, and tried everything in his power to punish him without outright killing him, to satisfy the high priests and the crowds they turned against Jesus.
His only real sin was that he sold out Jesus to save his own skin, but only after nothing else worked.”
2. Vlad the Impaler.
“Vlad the Impaler.
The man used over the top gore and extremely messed up ways to defend his much smaller country from those who tried take it over. He ended the tradition of having to turn over the first born sons to the invading forces in return for peace.
Sure, he used some insanely brutal tactics but they sent a message that made both him and his army seem other worldly.”
3. Down with the ship.
“First Officer William Murdoch of the Titanic gets a bad rep from the movie.
He did not shoot people then kill himself, he was actually a hero and saved many lives.
His family was upset with how he was portrayed.”
Now, he WAS a traitor, that’s undeniable. But he fought for the colonists earnestly at the beginning of the revolution, but kept having other people taking credit for the battles he was involved in and was finally accused of being sympathetic to the British (because of the social circles he was involved in).
This was after he had been wounded twice in battle and I believe he also lost his civilian business. Basically, he got sh*t on throughout the revolution by his own side and eventually got sick of it and switched sides.
Still a traitor (or a double traitor? since was technically a traitor to the British first?), but it didn’t happen for no reason.”
5. Dr. Death.
He was a doctor who was way ahead of his time. By supporting peoples right to choose to end their own suffering he is often portrayed as a murder crazy psycho.
When in reality he only wanted to give people the right to die with dignity and grace. I’m hoping that as the shift for peoples right to die becomes more accept history will rewrite the chapter on him.”
6. Cold War.
“Khrushchev for making the impossible choice to back down during the Cuban missile crisis.
A choice that Kennedy, in a democratic country, could have never made without committing career suicide.”
“When I was learning about the civil rights movement in High school they depicted Malcom X as a Extremist and never got into his views.
Now I’m turning 24 this year and I’ve learned he really wasn’t the extremist they taught me he was.”
8. The King.
Most other kings of France before him were *ssholes drunk on power. The dude didn’t want to be king, his dream job was being a locksmith, but he was in charge when the people frustration and anger was starting to boil over.
So he did a national survey just to know what could be done to make people’s life better, but it sent a signal that people mistook for weakness (instead of kindness) and decided it was a good time to start the French Revolution.”
“Ho Chi Minh.
He was only trying to unify the Vietnamese and get rid of foreign powers, and used communism as a way to do so.”
10. Big Brother is watching.
He got exiled just for letting everyone know we were being surveilled.”
11. Not so bad.
Shakespeare did a total smear job on the guy. As medieval kings go, he’s not so bad.”
12. Bleeding Kansas.
He was an abolitionist who led a slave rebellion, and our history books portray him as a needlessly violent and domineering nut job.”
Reddit likes to oversimplify his life by saying he was “A MASSIVE RACIST”, conveniently ignoring the fact that he was a mentally ill person that, not only feared people of other races, he feared EVERYTHING that was not exactly like him.
Suffered from a crippling agoraphobia as well, his family had mental illness history (with, at one point, both his father and his mother being hospitalized for mental illness), the guy had a f*cked up mental health, and his genius comes for the fact that he managed to portray his paralyzing fear of everything that is different into his art.
Lovecraftian Horror and the dread feeling that it puts you through was his daily life. Being petrified of every culture and every person that was different, being afraid to even leave his own house, and, even tho the odds were severely stacked against him, he still managed to balance his views, and, by the end of his life was a lot more understanding of other cultures (even ended up marrying a jew).
Saying that H.P. Lovecraft was a massive racist, while true, is also an insulting oversimplification of someone’s severe problems with mental health, but, in the era of cancel culture, everything must either be black or white, and there is no space of analyzing what actually went on.”
14. In reality…
“Darius III and Xerxes. They’re portrayed badly because of Alexander the Great and also the movie 300.
“In reality their Kingdom was actually fairly progressive, when taking over lands, local leaders and religions were allowed to remain however advisory members were sent in to help update settlements with better economic and civic organizations and so on.
Really they weren’t that bad of a Kingdom (for that time periods standards) and the reason they fought the Greeks was because classically Greek cities had tried to rebel with the support of Greek mainland city states, which prompted war.
History isn’t so black and white as Hollywood wants it to be.”
Do you think there are some “bad guys” from history that weren’t really all that bad?
If so, share your thoughts with us in the comments.
We’d love to hear from you!