In Search of Virtue: How Boy Scouts Helped Me Do the Impossible

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In 1748, the French philosopher Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, anonymously published his opus The Spirit of Laws. Two years later, Thomas Nugent 928906_80180220_Pontifical_Authority_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300published the initial English translation. This work, from where the term “separation of powers” first appeared, greatly influenced our Founding Fathers.

Montesquieu outlined three essential forms of government – Despotism, Monarchy and Republic – each dependent on one vital and defining character trait among its citizens. Under despotism, it’s fear. In a monarchy, it’s honor. But in a republic, Montesquieu maintains, those governed must be disposed to nothing less than virtue. Our Founding Fathers understood this. They possessed high expectations of both their new country as well as its citizens.

Oddly enough, the nation’s forebears did not see it as the role of government to imbue virtue upon its citizens. Rather, they expected the people to embrace virtue of their own volition. Nothing said this more than Benjamin Franklin’s answer to a woman who Continue Reading “In Search of Virtue: How Boy Scouts Helped Me Do the Impossible”