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Character Counts: The American Founders on Character and Civic Virtue

Few topics were of greater importance to the American founders than the moral character and civic virtue of both citizens and governors. Virtue in rulers and the ruled, they believed, was vital to their bold political experiment in republican self-government. The founding generation looked to the Bible for insights into the characteristics of a righteous ruler and guidance on how to nurture virtue in both rulers and the ruled. This talk will consider the place of the Bible in the founders' political thought, especially how the Bible informed their views on the characteristics and qualifications of a righteous political leader.

Daniel L. Dreisbach is a professor at American University in Washington, D.C. He earned a D.Phil. degree from Oxford University and a J.D. degree from the University of Virginia. He has authored or edited ten books, including most recently Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is a past recipient of American University's highest faculty award, "Scholar/Teacher of the Year."