The Historian-King: Political Leaders, Historical Consciousness, and Wise Government

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    Abstract

    Are political leaders known for their distinct historical consciousness wiser than others? And are rulers famous for their wisdom notable for their historical consciousness? To answer these questions, I identify political leaders with a distinct historical consciousness and, within this group, those with a reputation for wisdom – in practice, Nobel Peace Prize laureates and nominees. Several leaders, including Wilson, Masaryk, Nehru, and Gorbachev, are scrutinized from various angles. Just as the ideal of the philosopher-king is unreachable, I conclude, so is the ideal of the historian-king.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Engaged Historian
    Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession
    EditorsStefan Berger
    Place of PublicationNew York / Oxford
    PublisherBerghahn
    Chapter4
    Pages79-117
    Number of pages39
    Edition1
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78920-200-7
    ISBN (Print)978-1-78920-199-4
    Publication statusPublished - 30-Apr-2019

    Publication series

    NameMaking Sens of History
    PublisherBerghahn
    Volume37

    Keywords

    • age
    • hindsight bias
    • historian-king
    • historical consciousness
    • moral judgment
    • Nobel peace prize
    • philosopher-king
    • political leader
    • political wisdom

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