Before embarking on the discussion of the qualities found in a great statesman it should be pointed out that a statesman and a politician do not have the same job description, so to speak. A statesman cannot be a tyrant, which all too often a politician is. In contrast a statesman is the free leader of a free people.
It has been said that there are four qualities found in a true statesman, and without these attributes the word great will not apply.
· A statesman should be a man who lives by his principles
· A statesman must have a moral compass and it must guide him down his life’s path
· It is not enough to have principles guided by morality, but he must have a vision for what he would like the future to look like
· Even a man/woman with principles, morality and a vision cannot dictate that vision to those around him. He must be willing to achieve his goals only through consensus and not fiat.
Lastly, a great statesman must put these four qualities into a package in which he shows the qualities of leadership to win over supporters and constituents who might be taking a road against the tide.
One historian asserts that the three greatest statesman of all time were: Pericles of Athens, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. Although all three of these men can be criticized for mistakes they may have made and poor decisions, but when considering the issue of statesmanship it is important to remember that we live in a world of flesh and blood and not of angels, and even the greatest, most moral of statesman must set priorities from which he will be forced to make decisions which might not always look so good from the perspective of history.
The ultimate goal of a great statesman in a democratic society is the maximizing of freedom for the maximum number of people.