25 Historical Figures We Wish Were Still Alive

Posted by , Updated on May 21, 2024

In a continuous history of thousands of years there have been billions of people who “visited” our planet but very few who managed to leave their mark. Even though every single man and woman on our list is dead, their ideas and works continue to shape and influence our world. If they’re influence can be felt in death, can you imagine what they would do in life? What do you think? If you had a chance to bring any influential historical figure back to life, who would you pick? Could it be one of these 25 Historical Figures?



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus MozartSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The man who wrote over 600 musical works and would’ve written probably as many more if he didn’t die so young is considered by many historians the most influential Western musician and if he lived today it’s a safe bet classical music would have way more fans.


William Shakespeare

William ShakespeareSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

He’s widely regarded as the greatest and most creative writer ever in the English language and it would have been really interesting to see what he could have offered in an era where pretty much every film and story is a remake of a previous classic.


Walt Disney

WaltDisneySource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Even though Walt Disney will always live on through his animated films and amazing theme parks we sometimes wonder what kind of masterpieces he would have produced these days with all the revolutionary special effects and technology we now have.


Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van GoghSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Arguably one of the greatest and most talented painters in history, van Gogh had the misfortune of only selling a single portrait in his lifetime and, most importantly, had to deal with severe mental issues. Nowadays he would enjoy a more stable life thanks to our current advances in medicine and could have possibly delivered even more incredible masterpieces.


Steve Jobs

Steve JobsSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

In life as in death, Jobs continues to shape the world and how we see it via his products. However. we can’t help but wonder what other great innovations might have Jobs introduced into our society if he was still alive.



PlatoSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The man through whom we know about Socrates is also the one whose legacy survives in what is known as Platonism. According to pretty much every thinker who followed him, Plato’s ideas have had an impact on every major social institution throughout history, including religion, art, science, and the family.



MichelangeloSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The “Renaissance man” would have definitely made the declining art of sculpture a joy for the masses. Moreover, our parks and public buildings would have enjoyed a touch of classier and more sophisticated designs and decorations.


Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn MonroeSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Marilyn wasn’t considered the classiest lady of her time exactly. However, compared to a lot of what we see today we’re pretty sure if she was alive she would raise the bar to whats considered “sexy”.


Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da VinciSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

He is widely considered the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. Painter, sculptor, inventor and draftsmen da Vinci did it all masterfully. It would be a sheer delight to see what da Vinci could do with the technology we possess today.


John Lennon

John LennonSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

John Lennon stood out as a musician and personality because he cared for the world and people could feel that. He sang for peace and equality, and most importantly he dreamed of a better world without violence and injustice.



HypatiaSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in Egypt, Hypatia would have probably been a major force in the feminist movement.



HomerSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The first and greatest of the epic poets, Homer would have probably given J.K. Rowling a run for her money (no offence J.K.). His masterpieces have endured the test of time even with a huge language gap. It’s scary to think the incredible masterpieces he would’ve written today.


Diana, Princess of Wales

Diana Princess of WalesSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

We don’t think this generation or even the next will ever love another member of any royal family as much as we loved Diana. She was one with her people and she cared for the commoners as much as she cared for the royals.


John F. Kennedy

John F. KennedySource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Considered to be the most beloved American president in history, John F. Kennedy died too soon. Many historians believe that if he had lived longer the world might have been a better place.


Bob Marley

Bob MarleySource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

If the reggae legend were still alive he would have been seventy this year. Bob Marley wasn’t just a musician but a humanist and political activist who honored his lyrics and music with his simple lifestyle.


Friedrich Nietzsche

10. Friedrich NietzscheSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Those who are interested in nineteenth-century philosophy probably know that one of Nietzsche’s greatest fears was mediocrity. If he lived today, he would probably be a vocal opponent to anything considered mediocre. He would also be a strong critique against religion.


Galileo Galilei

9. Galileo GalileiSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The “father of modern science” should be alive for the simple reason that he would have gotten the chance to freely scream “And yet it moves!” referring to our beautiful planet, of course.


Mahatma Gandhi

8. Mahatma GandhiSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat,Gandhi was the preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India and is known for his Employment of nonviolent civil disobedience. A peaceful and wise man, it would be interesting to hear what he would have to say concerning the current state of our society.


Martin Luther King Jr.

7. Martin Luther King JrSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

King was a man who dreamt of a world without injustice, discrimination, and racism. Where all men and women would be brothers and sisters regardless of their skin color, religion, and or sex. Many believe that his dream is close to being fulfilled, but would he agree?



6. ConfuciusSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The great philosopher Confucius inspired the most profound reforms in ancient China, but he left a legacy that today hampers the striving of many Asians for democratic change. There’s no doubt he would certainly be useful in countries such as Myanmar, China, and North Korea today.


Nikola Tesla

Nikola TeslaSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

With the advances in modern technology we tend to believe Nikola Tesla would have been able to solve the energy problem and invent things that would change life and society dramatically for the better.


Sigmund Freud

Sigmund FreudSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

He’s been dead for over seventy years, but Sigmund Freud’s provocative theories are still a huge part of psychology, neuroscience, and culture (despite the fact that many of his ideas were totally wrong). Love him or hate him, scandalous geniuses such as Freud can challenge the way a social system works, which is what makes people like Freud legends.



aristotle2Source: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

Following Socrates and Plato, Aristotle had a great wealth of knowledge and wisdom to build upon, but he left no successor who could surpass him. His work changed the direction of Western learning and continues to play a crucial part in modern studies. His work in the sciences would inevitably become obsolete, particular in natural philosophy. But his contributions to biology would remain unsurpassed for centuries. On the other hand, his work in the humanities and social sciences continues to provide the basis for debate and guide academic learning. Moreover, he essentially created the field of logic and devised the syllogism. Who wouldn’t wish this man to be alive today?


Cleopatra VII of Egypt

Frederick_Arthur_Bridgman_-_Cleopatra_on_the_Terraces_of_PhilaeSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: nap.wikipedia.org

Arguably the most powerful and influential woman that ever lived, Cleopatra was the last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and one of the very few humans in history whose life became a myth. Even though her legacy survives in numerous works of art we are pretty sure that if she was alive today she would have an even greater impact on the world.



David_-_The_Death_of_SocratesSource: pantheon.media.mit.edu, Image: wikipedia.org

The greatest philosopher who ever lived and the man who laid the foundations of Western philosophy had a unique gift: he enjoyed listening to people’s opinions no matter how naive or illogical they may have been. In an era where narcissism is so prevalent, it would be interesting to see what philosophical diagnosis Socrates would give us.