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

de Baets, A., 30-Apr-2019, The Engaged Historian: Perspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession. Berger, S. (ed.). 1 ed. New York / Oxford: Berghahn, p. 79-117 39 p. (Making Sens of History; vol. 37).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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
Number of pages39
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


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

ID: 81538669