Of Men and Monuments

  • Robert Aldrich


In the late nineteenth century, which saw the ‘scramble’ of imperial powers to consolidate and extend overseas empires, belief in the ‘great man in history’ was the rule. Even if some historians argued that impersonal forces, such as economic trends, explained historical developments, there was widespread conviction that individuals — explorers, politicians, entrepreneurs — made history. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to pay tribute to great men — seldom were great women, except queens, candidates for such heroic treatment — in statues and other memorials. Representations of the great and good aimed to remind the public of the men and their deeds, to embody the gratitude of the nation and to encourage the patriotic fervour, pioneering cultural or scientific achievements, or selfless commitment exemplified by the figures. What Maurice Agulhon has called ‘statuomania’ particularly marked the Third Republic, which was also the high age of imperialism.


Missionary Activity Parish Church Bronze Statue Slave Rebellion Patriotic Fervour 
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Copyright information

© Robert Aldrich 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Aldrich
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneyAustralia

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