Sunday, July 16, 2023

Those were the days my friend.............

 The best place to begin to understand the views of the Revolutionary generation is with a look at the word "virtue."  This word was powerfully meaningful during the eighteenth century.  Today it is a mere synonym for morality, and also, anachronistically, a signifier of female chastity or the lack of it, as in the euphemistic phrase "a woman of easy virtue."  But for the Revolutionary generation, virtue was the essential element of public life.  Back then, it actually was masculine.  It meant putting the common good before one's own interests.  Virtue, writes the historian Joyce Appleby, was the "lynchpin" of public life—that it, the fastener that held together the structure.

-Thomas E. Ricks, First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

No comments:

Post a Comment