Lincoln personified ethics in politics
Abraham Lincoln, commonly referred to as Honest Abe
both now and within his own time is widely considered
one of the most honorable, ethical persons ever to have led this
country. We are so used to thinking of Lincoln this way that one
must stop for a moment to realize how this contrasts with current
sentiment, that todays politicians are anything but ethical.
and how does one develop such virtues, such values?
Lee Miller, a retired U.Va. professor of political and social
thought who is now Scholar in Ethics and Institutions at the Miller
Center of Public Affairs, considers this question in his recently
published book, Lincolns Virtues: An Ethical Biography.
He will talk about Lincoln March 20 at 4 p.m. at the Miller Center,
as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book.
will also participate in a book festival panel discussion on writing
about the lives of great individuals March 23 at 10 a.m. in the
Lincoln was raised in one-room houses with dirt floors, received
maybe a year of formal schooling and never joined a church. He
didnt have a close relationship with his father, and his
natural mother died when he was 9. This is a man with virtually
no mentors, Miller says, yet he became well-educated and
a moral exemplar.
I have called this book an ethical biography, writes
Miller. An ethical biography presupposes the freedom of
the subject, within some limits, to choose different courses of
Excerpted from a review by Rachael Kelly.