Religion and Politics in a Revolutionary Era

            Religion and Politics in a Revolutionary Era .

             The United States is a diverse place with millions of people that have many distinct ideologies and ethics. Recent events have brought to the forefront of national attention what people view as morally acceptable behavior for public officials. These events have also raised the question: "What is the relationship between the personal character of our political leaders and their ability to govern wisely?” It is my opinion that the majority of Americans become concerned about the moral behavior of their leaders only when the country, state, or locality is going through a difficult time economically. Throughout history, and particularly in the case of President Clinton, if the economy is doing well and the country is in a general state of security, most citizens are willing to "look the other way” on the morality of their leaders. I want my leaders to have a strong moral character, with a solid foundation of religion, but I also think that when it comes to carrying out the duties of an elected office, personal character and religion do not affect a person's ability to govern wisely.

             Throughout the rich history of the United States, many leaders have been benchmarks for morality and patriotism. Unfortunately, there have also been public officials who have abused their office and taken advantage of the trust and faith bestowed upon them by the public. The interesting notion is that some of the most respected leaders in American history did not honor the same set of values that the public did. Thomas Jefferson, revered as one of the greatest presidents of all time, owned slaves and had a child by one of them. His face is on Mt. Rushmore although he engaged in activities that were not consistent with the values of the average American. President Jefferson was able to expand the size of the United States by securing the Louisiana Purchase from France and easing world tensions in northern Africa and Europe, even though he behaved in a manner that was not conventionally respectable.

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