The term statesman is a respectful term used to refer to diplomats, politicians, and other notable figures of state. It is often used in the context of international or foreign affairs, for example, "a meeting of statesmen." Foreign ministers are often called statesmen, for example, while more local level officials, such as mayors are not.
Whether or not an individual actually is a statesman, is generally a matter of opinion, although in some cases there is little controversy. Politicians who are regarded as statesmen are usually old and popular, with long distinguished careers.
Generally, one can use the word as an euphemism for politician. When a politician retires, he is often referred to as a "respected elder statesman" by his supporters.
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."
Harry Truman -- "A politician is a man who understands government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead for 15 years."
Henry Kissinger -- "The statesman's duty is to bridge the gap between experience and vision."
Last updated: 10-09-2005 23:45:41