Summer 2012 Fusco Lecture Series
“Becoming a Statesman: Ten Counsels from Thomas More"
Stephen W. Smith
Temple Family Chair in English Literature and Associate Professor of English
The event was held on Friday, June 8.
A man in full and a man for our season, Thomas More (1478-1535) has intrigued generations of writers and thinkers, citizens and statesmen alike. William Shakespeare, for example, wrote of More as living justice “for truth’s sake and his conscience,” while Jonathan Swift numbered Thomas More among the six greatest defenders of liberty and claimed that More was "the person of the greatest virtue these islands ever produced." In the twentieth century, Winston Churchill admired “the noble and heroic stand” of More’s last years, and GK Chesterton wrote that More “may come to be counted the greatest Englishman, or at least the greatest historical character in English history." How did one free and educated man make an impact like this, on his own country and across the centuries, such that he would be canonized on the eve of the second world war, named Lawyer of the Millennium in 1999, and finally proclaimed Patron of Statesmen at the beginning of the third millennium? This talk will offer ten counsels from Thomas More on statesmanship and the needs of the present moment.