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 Posted: Thu Mar 27th, 2008 12:35 am
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Texas Defender
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Johnny Huma-

   My argument that luck has a role in making the great generals in history is not limited to luck on the battlefield, though that can be very important once they get there.

   What I was trying to explain was that luck is often the deciding factor in whether or not the person even gets there in the first place.

   Here is a historical example. In 1842, Thomas Jonathan Jackson wanted very much to attend West Point. Unfortunately for him, he was beaten out for the congressional appointment by another young man.

   The victorious applicant travelled to West Point. After one day, he decided that he wanted nothing to do with the place and resigned. When Jackson learned of this, he pressed for the appointment and managed to secure it.

   My conclusion is that if the other fellow had been of a different character, then there probably would have been no Cadet Jackson, let alone Lieutenant Jackson, let alone General Jackson. In all probability, he would not have been making his place in history 20 years later. We might now be reading about a different set of events and characters in the war because there was no General Jackson. What they might be is pure speculation.

   History carries us all along like a kind of tide. Providence is kind to a very few who get to exhibit their qualities at the right place and time in history. It often happens due to events beyond the control of the individuals involved.

Stonewall Jackson Biographical Summary. A Timeline of Significant Events from the VMI Archives.

 

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