Rubric: Character is a work of constant progress | Chroniclers

One can look at almost any president or head of state and local and find aspects of character. Truman’s “money stops here” attitude and Eisenhower’s deep understanding of the brutalities of war are certainly admirable traits to explore. Truman took responsibility for the decision to drop the atomic bomb. He did not pass it on to others. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of a military industrial complex. He knew what war looked like.

In 1844, Emerson, writing on the character, extrapolated the virtues of both a country and an individual. At the time, the country was having an election year, trying to expand into new territories and evolve industrially with the sending of the first telegraphic message from the Capitol in Washington. At the end of the 2nd Great Awakening, Americans were working on their health, trying to right social and political wrongs and preparing to reform society. It looks a lot like the present.

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Emerson states that character is a natural power like light and heat, and all of nature cooperates with it. The reason we feel one man’s presence and not another’s is as natural as gravity. These lines are full of promise and truth.

Having a personal character doesn’t mean we’re perfect, but it certainly means we don’t spend time blaming others. When each of us is successful, we must share the merit. When we fail, we are at our best when we own it and move on. His character work is a work in progress.


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