I came across an interesting historical mini-narrative while reading Michael Bradley’s Age Of Genius: 1300 to 1800— and one that has nothing to do with math.
Mathematician and all-around philosophe Gottfried Leibniz [LIEP nitz] (1646 – 1716) was a working man, earning his own way through life with what (intellectual) jobs he could get. One of the jobs he took-on was as a researcher of ancestry for a certain Duke in Germany. This duke, Ernst August, was a family member in good standing of the House Of Brunswick. Bradley tells us that August hired Leibniz to successfully establish an ancestral link between the vaunted House Of Este and the Guelph family, of which the House Of Brunswick was a part. Leibniz was indeed able to prove this relationship, resulting in 1692 in the elevation of August from Duke to “Elector”– the Electors of Germany being princes who were entitled to vote in the election of each new Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1698, another Brunswick, Georg Ludwig, succeeded August as Elector. This is the same Georg who in 1714 would be invited to become King Of England.
My question… If Leibniz had not succeeded in elevating the House Of Brunswick, would merry old England ever have stooped to let George conquer the throne? And a follow-up… If no King George & Sons… would there have been such a sudden and sharp break between Britain and America?