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Who is the most powerful person of all time? Show more Show less

Throughout history, many people have lived their lives pursuing power. While many fail, some become successful beyond their wildest dreams and wield levels of power unimaginable to most people. From heads of state to business leaders, religious leaders, and intellectual leaders, who was the most powerful person of all time?

Emperor Ashoka is the most powerful person of all time Show more Show less

The third ruler of the Maurya dynasty controlled the largest empire in the Asian subcontinent and helped establish Buddhism as a global religion.
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Ashoka built a legacy

A real indicator of power is the legacy a leader leaves behind.
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The most powerful leaders build a legacy that lasts. The fact that Ashoka’s name 2,300 years later is still cause for celebration is indicative of the legacy he built.

The Argument

Power that dies with the leader is only temporary. An indication of true power is the ability to build a legacy. Emperor Ashoka built a legacy that was so durable, even today, 2,300 years later, communities across Asia celebrate his legacy.

Counter arguments

If legacy is a key indicator of power, Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed would have to be considered the most powerful people of all time. Not only are they celebrated thousands of years after their death, they are worshipped. Their actions built religions that retain millions of followers thousands of years after their deaths.


For a leader to be the most powerful person of all time, they must have built a movement that outlasted their life time.


[P1] Power can be quantified in the number of years the leader is celebrated after their death. [P2] Ashoka's legacy has lasted 2,300 years. [P3] Therefore, Ashoka is the most powerful figure in history.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Religious leaders have built legacies that lasted as long as Ashoka and are far stronger in the sense that they are more celebrated today.


Further Reading


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    This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Mar 2020 at 12:49 UTC