Jon Quincy Adams once said,

“From all that I have read of history and government of human life and manners, I have drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women were the most infallible barometer to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue of a nation.”


To get the thread rolling or spinning I would say he is right to a very high degree. What say yous guys.

Views: 670

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Assumption to a very high degree and a subjective statement based on the viewpoint of an upper-class white male almost two and a half centuries ago.

It's the product of a certain place and time, and it's interesting as a statement on men's view of women at that particular time and place, and surely we can analyze the context for clues as to the origins of the idea that womenfolk are the keeper of morals.

But it's not an absolute and doesn't really tell us anything about today. Even in colonial times you could find plenty of examples of morally "bad" women. Men as well. To use it as a measure of national morality is pure tripe.

Adam's assertion doesn't require analyzing how a nation treats it's women.  Granted treating women appropriately ought be expected of any civilized nation just as treating any person appropriately is.

Adam's assertion requires analyzing how a nation's women treats others.

It's supposed to be enlightened and flattering towards women - look how important they are - but with 0 context, why does he choose that half (or quarter, if you separate children) of the nation? What's irrelevant about men's manners? Also, using manners to discern morality and virtue is suspect. Manners vary; morality and virtue are derived from self-evident truths.

Tocqueville has similar comments about American women, but there I know the context. He particularly remarks on women traveling alone. To him, this shows both how law-abiding the nation is (weaker citizens protected by general order and stronger citizens) and how egalitarian (women not constantly under a man's authority).

I don't think it is saying that males manners are irrelevant, but just that if manners or morals swung in one direction for the worse then there would be balance or an origin. 

That's why I think the word barometer is pretty useful because it's not to say that men alone can't sway the moral high ground. But if as a group all agreed on acting a certain way and there was no contrast, then anything they do would appear to be right. Also taking my own life as an example, my Dad swears like  sailor. My mom never liked it or always stopped me if I did it, and now I rarely swear.

I would disagree about manners.

Manners are a subset of ethics, therefore ultimately morals and virtues will come into play.

I disagree that ethics necessarily reflect morals. Virtues, maybe. But manners and ethics are social constructs, not moral ones. Morals *may* come into play, but are not necessarily part of the equation. 

Perhaps so, I included morals to cover my bases, there are areas between the two that get cloudy.

It could possibly be during the time he wrote it there may have been a tighter correlation between manners and morals, virtues. 

I'm not seeing it.  Also not sure what the practical outcome would be if I adopted that perspective.

And this is bad for what reason?

Also, scantily-dressed women are not original to the 20th century!

RSS

Latest Activity

Tarquin Anstruther replied to Josh Allen's discussion My Fathers Bodybuilding Progress Leading Towards The 2014 Championships.
"Well it takes all kinds to make a world and I have to say from where I'm standing the whole idea of turning your body into this is very alien"
30 minutes ago
Cthulhu's Revenge replied to Josh Allen's discussion My Fathers Bodybuilding Progress Leading Towards The 2014 Championships.
"The NPA? I have a good friend who was competing.. I'm not sure if there's separate categories though"
49 minutes ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion Your Vision of Paradise
"It does, but reality happens every second of every day. Why assume that perfection is not possible? You have that idea in your mind but you do not question it. You have only one life to live, why can't it be in paradise? If not now, then make…"
1 hour ago
Upside down bloke posted a discussion

Nature of relationships

Hi all,Have been thinking of relationships recently and as I didn't grow up with happily married parents I didn't have a good role model to understand what they are about.But a theory I have is that a relationship is not so much about the person you are together with, it's more about having a commitment to the relationship itself.  So it doesn't matter so much whether your wife annoys you or pleases you, whatever happens you are committed to the idea of being togeher and forming this…See More
1 hour ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion Your Vision of Paradise
"I see some readers would like a shorter version. Okay, to summarize, basically if you could create your own paradise, what would it be like? And, do you genuinely think you know yourself well enough to know what that paradise really would…"
1 hour ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion You Are All Figments of My Imagination
"Your argument collapses if I never die though right? And since, I have never before been dead, why should I assume that I will? Just because other people have? I am my own individual, all that is, exist because I have perceived it to…"
2 hours ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion You Are All Figments of My Imagination
"Thank you sir. I do strive to be original. Frankly, many of the posts I have read seem rather mundane and petty, some of them. I think it is important to question one's sense of reality, as it can lead to greater insight into what this all…"
2 hours ago
Upside down bloke commented on Harry William Reineke IV's group Monarchists' Corner
"Hello, I am a new member.  I am from a Commonwealth Country so the Queen is our head of state.  She actually sacked our PM in 1975 via her local representative the Governor General.  It's a really famous speech made on the steps…"
4 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service