Who were the most famous men in the world during the 19th century?

Jun 2017
How about Jackson? Also, Mexican-American War commanders such as Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor should also count, probably.
Yes those are all good ones. William Henry Harrison too. Whigs kicked their parties structural problems down the road by nominating celebrities that they knew could win. Republicans did the same with Eisenhower a century later. Jackson yeah would be a huge one. Was trying to go outside of Presidents.
Feb 2019
In the US pre Civil War it would be the trio of Clay, Webster and Calhoun. Post Civil War it would likely be Grant. Captains of industry certainly picked up fame later on in the Gilded Age, not sure if Vanderbilt or Rockefeller had the fame early on. If I had to pick most famous politicians it would be Blaine and William Jennings Bryan. Marconi was very famous at the time of the Titanic sinking, he was viewed in the way a Mark Zuckerburg would be today. Enough so were when the operator met him it resembled a modern day celebrity/fan interaction. Darwin maybe I think he got more popular in the 1920s. It's hard to distinguish relevance today and relevance at the time.

Outside of the US and UK, while economically the world has changed, socially was still set up largely as was in the feudal period and that period mainly saw celebrities among the nobility(who were originally the fighting class though that started to change) and then the military.
Would like to know more about this! Was he not an international celebrity during his own lifetime? I thought that by 1859, he was huge.


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Would like to know more about this! Was he not an international celebrity during his own lifetime? I thought that by 1859, he was huge.
Darwin? By 1859 by and large he was known as a geological expert of vulcanism, possibly with a weird side-line as a "pidegon-fancier". Only if you were really intimately acquainted with the feller would you have known roughly what he was really up to. And only really in Britain.

He did become huge though subsequent to 1859. With some limitations – the French didn't put much store by any of his stuff generally – he became huge in Germany, but there his theory was mostly seized upon by popular science rather than actual researchers (with the exception of the German anatomists and zoologists that specifically subscribed to philosophical materialistic mechanism (a minority, also with a sideline in racial determinism), most importantly the school of Karl Gegenbaur).

Still, Darwin did get so big that by the 1890's there was a feeling in science that Darwinism had been done to death. It was SO 1859, and had had its day. The new thing became Mendelian genetics, and it wasn't until the 1930's that biologists like Ernst Mayr managed to screw the two together into a working synthesis – which is how we subsequently have known Darwinian evolution in tandem with the Mendelian laws of heredity.
Likes: Openminded

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