Excerpted from “Which Historical and Contemporary Figures were Churchill’s Inspirations?” Written for the Hillsdale College Churchill Project, February 2020. For Hillsdale’s complete text and illustrations, please click here.
We are often asked which historical and contemporary personages most influenced Winston Churchill’s thought and statesmanship. One is right to start with Lord Randolph Churchill, Napoleon, Clemenceau and Marlborough. The classics open another avenue. Readers can find pithy remarks by Churchill on many of the following figures in Churchill by Himself.
Lord Randolph Churchill
His father was the first of young Winston’s political inspirations, and the subject of his first biography.…
After I posted “Churchill on the Stimulus Package” last Spring, I was asked if Churchill, who said he opposed socialism, was in fact more of a socialist than he cared to admit. For example, he was one of the architects of the British Welfare State early in the 20th century.
To the many appreciations of Churchill’s career let us add that he was (which is not often recognized) a serious political theorist, who learned from experience and, as William Manchester wrote, “usually improved as he went along.” I asked President Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College to respond to this question: