The End of History and the Last Man | Study Guide

Francis Fukuyama

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The End of History and the Last Man | Key Figures

Key Figure Description
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was a German philosopher of the idealist school. He promoted a theory of historical progress through a social "struggle for recognition" and promoted a dialectical method of philosophical thought. Read More
Karl Marx German philosopher Karl Marx (1818–83) was a German philosopher who wrote The Communist Manifesto (1848) and a groundbreaking analysis of capitalism, Capital (first volume published 1867; second and third volumes published posthumously). Read More
John Locke John Locke (1632–1704) was an English philosopher and one of the most important figures in the early Enlightenment (c. 1601–c 1800), the period in which reason was newly applied to all aspects of life. He helped to develop an empirical approach to philosophy and promoted liberal political ideas. Read More
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was an English philosopher. His political and social philosophies, outlined in particular in his work Leviathan (1651), promoted the idea that a strong state and sovereign prevented humanity from falling into a "state of nature" in which there was constant conflict. Read More
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) is a Russian politician and the final leader of the Soviet Union. He oversaw a series of reforms in the ailing Soviet Union and presided over the end of Communist rule in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Vaclav Havel Vaclav Havel (1936–2011) was a Czech writer and political opponent of communism. He was made president of Czechoslovakia after the fall of Communist rule in 1989 and then served as president of the Czech Republic from 1993–2003.
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) was the founder of the German National Socialist (Nazi) party and from 1934–1945 dictator of Germany. He instituted a brutal regime of genocide, suppression of dissent, and aggressive militarism that led to World War II.
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a German idealist philosopher. His Critique of Pure Reason (1781) explored the relationship between human experience and reason.
Alexandre Kojève Alexandre Kojève (1902–68) was a Russian philosopher and politician. He adapted Hegel's ideas to inform his political and philosophical beliefs and played a major role in the founding of the European Union, the organization of European countries that share economic, security, and social policies.
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Lenin, born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870–1924), was a Russian socialist, revolutionary leader, and political theorist. He led the successful Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 that created the Soviet Union and instituted Communism as the ruling philosophy of Russia.
Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was an Italian diplomat, statesman, and philosopher. His books, including The Prince (1513), helped to define modern political theory. His political philosophies have been interpreted as promoting ruthless and pragmatic decision-making.
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher. His ideas about morality included the absence of objective truth and the contest between the moralities of masters and slaves. He understood human behavior in terms of competition among "wills."
Plato Plato (c. 428–c. 348 BCE) was a Greek philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of Western philosophy. In his work Plato used a dialectic (or dialogue-based) method to explore ideas; this method has been enormously influential.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) was a Swiss philosopher. He was a major figure in the Enlightenment and in political theory in general. His ideas about the social contract, in particular, helped to influence the development of the American Revolution (1775–83) and the French Revolution (1789–99).
Adam Smith Adam Smith (1723-90) was a Scottish philosopher and economist. His book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776, commonly called The Wealth of Nations), is considered the foundational text of modern economics. He popularized the idea that wealth is created by people acting in their own rational self-interest.
Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin (1878–1953) was a Georgian-born Russian revolutionary, secretary-general of the Communist party of the Soviet Union (1922–53), and premier of the Soviet Union from 1941–53. During his reign he attempted to develop the Soviet Union as a modern, industrial, socialist society. His rule was marked by brutal authoritarianism and a cult of personality.
Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) was a French diplomat and writer. He is most famous for his book Democracy in America (1835–40), which was based on de Tocqueville's experience living in America. He praised the ability of democratic societies to improve the living conditions of their citizens.
Max Weber Max Weber (1864–1920) was a German academic, one of the founding figures of modern sociology. In works like The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05), Weber demonstrated how sociological observation could be used to describe how culture and material realities combine to produce social phenomena.
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