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great man theory

An approach to history associated with the nineteenth-century Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle, who declared, “The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” Carlyle argued that heroes shape history through the vision of their intellect, the beauty of their art, the prowess of their leadership, and, most important, their divine inspiration.

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Note

Carlyle's theories have generally fallen out of fashion.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Examples from the Web for great man theory

Historical Examples

  • Thus the Great-Man-Theory of history must surely be admitted to assign a real condition of national success.

    Logic

    Carveth Read