A statesman or stateswoman or statesperson is usually a politician or other notable figure of state who has had a long and respected career in politics 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".

Statespersonship also conveys a quality of leadership that organically brings people together and of eldership, a spirit of caring for others and for the whole.

Anyone elected to office is a politician but only a few consistently manage to work as disinterested promoters of the public good with integrity. There is a huge difference between the two.

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 "statespersonship."


*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 S. 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."
*London's Evening News, July 21, 1960 -- "There will be need for a new word. Presumably, we shall have to call her a Stateswoman. This is the suffragette's dream come true." (On Sirimavo Bandaranaike's election to Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the first such woman leader in the world, though other women heads of state and government and other women political leaders had been referred to as "statesmen".)
*Milton Friedman -- "One man's opportunism is another man's statesmanship."
*Otto von Bismarck -- “I consider even a victorious war as an evil, from which statesmanship must endeavor to spare nations.”
*Winston Churchill -- "A politician thinks about the next elections - the stateman thinks about the next generations."
*Statesman (City of Heroes) -- In the City of Heroes World the very first super hero in our era.

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  • statesman — index politician Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • statesman — 1590s, after Fr. homme d état; see STATE (Cf. state) + MAN (Cf. man) …   Etymology dictionary

  • statesman — *politician, politico …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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  • statesman — [stāts′mən] n. pl. statesmen [stāts′mən] [state s, gen. of STATE + MAN, based on Fr homme d état] a person who shows wisdom, skill, and vision in conducting state affairs and dealing with public issues, or one engaged in the business of… …   English World dictionary

  • statesman — I statesman, stateswoman (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. legislator, diplomat, solon, Draco; politician. See director. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. legislator, lawgiver, Solon, administrator, executive, minister, official, politician,… …   English dictionary for students

  • statesman — [[t]ste͟ɪtsmən[/t]] statesmen N COUNT A statesman is an important and experienced politician, especially one who is widely known and respected. → See also elder statesman Hamilton is a great statesman and political thinker …   English dictionary

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