From Nordan Symposia
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- Date: 1592
- 1 : one versed in the principles or art of government; especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies
- 2 : one who exercises political leadership wisely and without narrow partisanship
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term. When politicians retire, they are often referred to as elder statesmen.
Statesmanship also conveys a quality of leadership that organically brings people together and of eldership, a spirit of caring for others and for the whole.
The words statesman or stateswoman are applied loosely to any head of state, any senior political figure, or anyone who in a given moment exhibits a certain quality of statesmanship.
- Aristotle – "What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions."
- Otto von Bismarck – "I consider even a victorious war as an evil, from which statesmanship must endeavor to spare nations."
- James Freeman Clarke – "A politician thinks about the next elections — the statesman thinks about the next generations."
- Mikhail Gorbachev – "What is the difference between a statesman and a politician?... A statesman does what he believes is best for his country, a politician does what best gets him re-elected"