The term statesman stands for a person of the state (literally: "man of the state"), a politician in high state offices, usually heads of state or government who, in the opinion of the public , have achieved something that goes beyond everyday politics . For former heads of state and government who enjoy such a reputation, the English term elder statesman has become common.
In English, and even more so in German , it is a respectful term that indicates great ability. That does not rule out that it can be very controversial in detail who deserves this designation. Heads of state in authoritarian or totalitarian regimes such as Franco , Pinochet , Hitler or Stalin are usually not referred to as statesman , which is viewed positively .
Former British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone wrote in the 19th century: "The politician thinks about the next elections, the statesman about the next generation."
Since women were rarely found in high government positions in the past, the word statesman was used as a feminine form . Meanwhile, stateswoman is also in use.
- Duden online: Elder Statesman .
- Duden online: Statesman .
- Duden online: Staatsfrau . The adjective "stateswoman" instead of the gender-neutral statesmanlike is rare and colloquial; see. “State-female leadership” in: Joschka Fischer , Financial misery in Greece - muddling through prohibited ( memento from February 25, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), sueddeutsche.de , February 22, 2010.
- WorldStatesmen.org - “A World of Knowledge at Your Fingertips” - an (almost) complete listing of high-ranking government executives in history, which, however, does not classify them as “statesman” or “non-statesman” in the above sense