Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era. He called economics "the dismal science", wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and became a controversial social commentator.
Coming from a strict Calvinist family, Carlyle was expected to become a preacher by his parents, but while at the University of Edinburgh, he lost his Christian faith. Calvinist values, however, remained with him throughout his life. This combination, of a religious temperament with loss of faith in traditional Christianity, made Carlyle's work appealing to many Victorians who were grappling with scientific and political changes that threatened the traditional social order.
Carlyle was born in Ecclefechan, Dumfries and Galloway,. His parents determinedly afforded him an education at Annan Academy, Annan, where he was bullied and tormented so much that he left after three years. In early life, his family's (and his nation's) strong Calvinist beliefs powerfully influenced the young man.