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Government And Virtue By Benjamin Franklin

Good Essays
Government and Virtue America is a country well-known for the phrase, “we the people;” it is a nation created by the people for the people. “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters” (Franklin, 1840, pg. 297). This statement by Benjamin Franklin strongly emphasizes the importance of virtuous citizenry in a country founded on claims to freedom. This gives rise to the question of what makes a person virtuous and how that virtue should be cultivated. Regardless of the specifics of virtue, virtue is a value that every society should foster. However, the federal government has little active role to play in nurturing a virtuous citizenry because the power to do so has…show more content…
The American society as a whole has varying views of what can truly be considered virtuous. The line between right and wrong is certainly far blurrier than it was in the past. However, there are still qualities that are viewed as inarguably desirable. For example, society as a whole would view honesty as an important and desired quality. Generosity, as well, through donations and service has always been viewed as a valuable quality. Additionally, when it comes to politics, no one would claim that civic involvement is a negative thing although people disagree on perspectives and opinions. So, while the details of virtue have changed, the meaning behind the word--the idea that there are good qualities that society desires--has not. Because the government’s main purpose is to nurture citizen welfare, logic suggests that the job of government should also entail the promotion of virtue in the citizens of the country, however, this should be nurtured at the state level, and not by the federal government. Nurturing Virtue Nurturing virtue is important to government because doing so will create citizens that uphold the law, improve society, and are involved in political affairs. Without virtuous citizens, America’s current form of government will fail and be replaced because a Republican form of government is fully dependent on virtuous citizenry. Ronald L. Hatzenbuehler (2016) states that “the
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