The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the need for more public virtue. When the Framers of the Constitution met in the Second Continental Congress, they were under strict orders from their states to amend the Articles of Confederation rather than abolish them. Knowing that the Articles were no longer useful or relevant to their new nation, the Founders amended them out of existence. Then they proceeded to form an entirely different type of government. They were so concerned about what people would think of what they were doing that they agreed to complete secrecy. No one knew what they were doing under the Constitution was written and signed.
The Founders were wise men who were raised up by God to create a free nation wherein the gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored. It is said that any one of them would have been outstanding if they had lived in any other period of history. The fact that there were so many outstanding men involved in the writing of the Constitution is evidence that the Constitution is a miraculous document.
In their attempt to create a “more perfect union” than was possible under the Articles of Confederation, the Founders understood that the success or failure of their “experiment” was based on the public virtue of the people of the United States. It is the wise and virtuous behavior of the citizens that acts as the first line of restraint in the nation. I think that it was John Adams who commented that the Constitution only works for virtuous people. This means that it is not effective in controlling the corrupt people of the world.
You may wonder what I mean by “public virtue.” When any society is determined to practice public virtue, this means that they are committed to some basic principles. These principles are: (1) A commitment to live by the rule of law, (2) a willingness to practice self-restraint, compassion, and decency, (3) a willingness to set aside private self-interests for the good of the society, (4) a willingness to serve in public office, (5) a willingness to compromise politically for the overall good, and (6) a willingness to practice private and public virtue.
Virtue is described having high moral standards. Some synonyms of virtue are: goodness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, honor, decency, respectability, and purity. From this information, we can see how people who practice private and public virtue can help their society to be a healthy, happy, and successful one.