OK, he may not be a name well known on the American side of the pond, but Guy Fawkes is celebrated in England every November 5th. Bonfires are lit, and fireworks are set off. November the 5th is now known as Guy Fawkes night.
Now here is the interesting part, he made no great medical discovery, he was not a scholar, he was not a theologian, in fact he was what we today would call a terrorist. His plan was to blow up the houses of parliament in London. Actually based on most of political madness that we face today blowing up an entire bunch of them does have some appeal!
Guy Fawkes was not successful, the gunpowder plot was discovered and our hero met an untimely end on the hangman’s noose. All this happened over 400 years ago, 1605 to be exact.
The question in my mind is if he had been successful and killed King James I, and most of the his Parliament, would he have forever changed the course of history? Very likely the answer is no.
The assassination of JFK had profound repercussions around the world, but did it change anything? Again the likely answer is no.
One person, or even several hundred people, do not define a course of history, they make a small detour in the rivers direction, but the river will find it’s way back.
The events of 9/11 is another fine example, it has not forever changed history, but it has added many years till we have an open border policy. It has set back international understanding at least 20 years.
But it is only a setback, it is not an irrevocable change.