History If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?  

Ryan Carlquist
1.2k votes 162 voters 20 items

List Rules Vote up the historical events you NEED to see with your own eyes; vote down the ones you're okay with missing out on.

We're restricted to only reading or hearing about historical events from textbooks and audio files, but - for many - having the opportunity to experience these moments firsthand would be a dream come true. From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech to the original Woodstock Music Festival, the most highly esteemed historical events are as unique as they are plentiful. There's a lot of debate as to whether our understanding of past events is truly accurate, so having a person on the inside would help to verify or dispute specific details surrounding these incidents. 

We asked the Ranker audience which historical events they'd love to experience in person. The question was intended to convey that this would be a one-time trip, where the person traveling would be able to witness the extent of the event, before returning back to their present time. With millions of historical possibilities, it's fascinating to see what events people are itching to see with their own eyes.

Vote up the events that you'd love to take a trip back in time to see for yourself.

1
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New York City, End Of World Wa... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
New York City, End Of World War II

"To be in a major American city like New York, and witness the minute WWII was declared over! I can't imagine all the insanely overjoyed looks on people's faces!"

2
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Signing Of The Declaration Of ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Signing Of The Declaration Of Independence

"The deliberation and signing of the Declaration of Independence. I would love to be there for the debate amongst those minds. Forming a nation is some pretty deep sh*t."

3
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Moon Landing is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Moon Landing

"When man landed on the moon. I wish I was alive to be part of that event, to be with other people watching such a feat of human exploration, that to me was when we had a chance to boldly progress as a population."

4
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Library Of Alexandria is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Library Of Alexandria

"Assuming that I would be brought back to the present, I would love to go back to the Library of Alexandria in its prime. Preferably over an extended period of time with something that I would be able to record with like a GoPro."

5
57 29
Woodstock Music Festival is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Woodstock Music Festival

"I would want to go back and be at Woodstock."

6
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Martin Luther King, Jr's
Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have A Dream" Speech

"Martin Luther King [Jr.'s] "I Have a Dream" speech. I['d] love to hear it."

7
58 31
The Birth Of Christ is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
The Birth Of Christ

"The Birth of Christ. I personally believe he existed, was born, walked this Earth, was crucified, and rose 3 days later. I walk by faith, not by sight. If I'm right, I'll be with Him for eternity. If I'm wrong, I've lost nothing." 

8
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Completion Of Stonehenge is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Completion Of Stonehenge

"There're many places and times in history I would love to be at, but since I must choose one, the building of Stonehenge, or should I say the day it was completed."

9
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Fall of the Berlin Wall is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Fall Of The Berlin Wall

"I've lived in Germany for a lot of years, ... [so] for me it would be the Berlin Wall coming down, and being a part of taking it down."

10
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Roswell, New Mexico, 1947 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Roswell, New Mexico, 1947

"Roswell, New Mexico. About 75 miles north to be precise. On July 7th, 1947. I wanna see me some weather balloons or ... [aliens]."

11
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Mayan Civilization is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Mayan Civilization

"I want to know how the Mayans disappeared. Watch their culture in real life to see how much of it we have gotten wrong."

12
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John F. Kennedy assassination is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
John F. Kennedy Assassination

"The JFK assassination. Hear me out. I'd stand right next to the Babushka Lady with my camera then maybe we'd get some real answers to what really happened."

13
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Sinking of the Titanic is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Sinking Of The Titanic

"Titanic going on its first voyage, that must ... [have] been so spectacular back in the day. The events after, not so, just devastating."

14
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Battle of the Alamo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Battle Of The Alamo

"Being from San Antonio, I'd say the battle of the Alamo. I would love to know how exactly Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Travis met their ends. I'd also like to know where Santa Anna was when the onslaught was happening."

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Monterey Pop Festival is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Monterey Pop Festival

"The '67 Monterey Pop Festival; it was the official start to 'The Summer of Love' which gave a voice to the counterculture." 

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The Beatles On The Ed Sullivan... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
The Beatles On The Ed Sullivan Show

"Really hard but I'd have to say that I'd love to see the 1964 performance of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show."

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Reign Of Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Reign Of Cleopatra

"I would go back to see Cleopatra. She's such an amazing figure and there's so much strength, beauty, and mystery surrounding her. I'd like to see what she was really like."

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The Cretaceous–Tertiary Extinc... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
The Cretaceous–Tertiary Extinction

"I am going WAY back. I would like to see the event that started the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Extraterrestrial impact? Solar mass ejections? Super Volcano?…so many questions."

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Reign Of Mary, Queen Of Scots is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Reign Of Mary, Queen Of Scots

"I'd like to be a fly on the wall during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. I've always wondered how much of her political choices were actually HERS."

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Battle of Stamford Bridge is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list If You Could Be A Spectator To Any Historical Event, Which Would You Watch?
Battle Of Stamford Bridge

"The Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066...a lone Berserker stood off an entire English brigade, cutting down up to 40 men with a battle axe giving his people enough time to form a defense and ultimately a retreat..."