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Virtue in Action: Individual Activities

Virtue In Action: Individual Activities

All citizens must play a role for self-government to succeed. For the next month, make a special effort to be aware of and act in ways that promote your own self-governance.

  • Write a personal mission statement and a plan for living it out.
  • If you start or lead a club, a business, or any new initiative, find ways to ensure it can continue to endure without you there.
  • If you play a team sport, be aware of your chance to work with teammates. Instead of trying to make every shot, pass the ball to others who are better positioned.
  • Thomas Paine said, “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” Draft a written response to Paine’s statement, identifying areas where you find it applicable in your own life.

Sources & Further Reading

Ellis, Joseph J. His Excellency: George Washington. New York: Vintage, 2005.

Leibiger, Stuart. Founding Friendship: George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2001.

Washington, George. “Farewell Address.” September 19, 1796

Washington, George. George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior. N.p.: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2013.

Virtue Across the Curriculum

Below are corresponding literature and film suggestions to help you teach this virtue across the curriculum. A sample prompt has been provided for the key corresponding work, and you are encouraged to create your own prompts for other suggested works.

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

How does the author define manhood? Are these qualities important only for men?


  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • “Go Forth to Life” by Samuel Longfellow
  • Henry IV, part 1 by William Shakespeare
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Rediscovering George Washington directed by Michael Pack, narrated by Richard Brookhiser
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen