The Honor of a Nation

A Case for Stoicism in Foreign Policy

by Michael “Mick” Patrick Mulroy, Adam Piercey, and Donald J. Robertson

George Washington was influenced by Stoicism. He was so fond of the Stoic philosopher and Roman statesman, Cato the Younger, that he actually arranged for a play about him to be performed for his soldiers before the battle of Valley Forge. Perhaps the most famous line in that play was:

Better to die ten thousand thousand deaths,
Than wound my honor.

Jospeh Addison, Cato, a Tragedy

A founding father, the first General, and first the President of the United States understood the importance of honor.
The Stoics derived four virtues from the teachings of Socrates as the fundamental principles of their philosophy. These were wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. They believed that people who exhibited all of these principles were honorable.

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Why is Marcus Aurelius called Verissimus?

How the Stoic Roman Emperor got his nickname

You’ve probably heard of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher. He’s the author of The Meditations, one of the most popular self-improvement classics of all time. Even if you’ve not read that book, maybe you saw Richard Harris playing him in the first act of the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator (2000).

Did you know that Marcus was also called Verissimus, though? This name means “most true” in Latin and it seems to have caught on, in part, because it naturally fitted his reputation as a philosopher, and a lover of wisdom.

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