Ben Franklin’s Virtues: The Virtue and Meaning of Justice

The idea that virtuous people will have a better chance of surviving in the wild is not just an old adage; it’s based on some hard science. The more we understand about how our brains work, the easier it becomes to optimize for success.

The “13 virtues of benjamin franklin explained” is a list of the 13 virtues that Ben Franklin believed were necessary for happiness. The virtue and meaning of justice was one of them.

Sword of justice illustration.

This is the ninth installment of a series on Benjamin Franklin’s virtuous life.

“JUSTICE. By causing harm or failing to provide the advantages that are your responsibility, you have done no wrong.”

Man is a social creature. We engage with individuals in various capacities and relationships on a daily basis. Human beings have established rights and duties that each person and community must respect in order for these interactions to run properly. In their desire to uphold these limits and duties, mankind are guided by the virtue of justice.

What is the definition of justice?

Philosophers have discussed this subject for millennia. Justice, like beauty and goodness, is a nebulous ideal that is difficult to define. Justice, as described by Catholic theologian and philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, is “the continual and permanent intention to deliver to everyone his due.” Franklin, I believe, shared the same concept of justice. Those who follow the rules, adhere to the regulations, and maintain the standards are rewarded. Those who do not comply will be penalized. When a man denies an individual or a group the penalty or reward that is due to them, he is doing injustice.

How do you cultivate the virtue of justice?

Educate yourself. To be a just man, you must learn about your family’s, community’s, and nation’s rights and duties. Many of these skills are learned simply by engaging with people, and they begin at a young age. We learn that if you break anything or injure someone, you should try to fix it by paying for what you broke or apologizing to the person you hurt. We learn that if you make a promise, you must keep it, and if you can’t, you must make amends for the consequences of your failure to do so.

When justice is denied someplace, justice is harmed everywhere. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While we instinctively understand such information, there are frequently concerns of justice that are outside of our experience or occur on a bigger scale. Because they require work to investigate, such concerns often do not get the attention they need. Perhaps the biggest hindrance to justice is apathy. Many unfair things are occurring in your city, state, country, and globe that do not elicit righteous wrath because men do not desire to learn about what is going on.

True men seek justice not only in the events that directly impact them, but also in the treatment of all others, even strangers. They stand up to injustice at all times and in all places. Men must have a good grasp of culture and ideas, stay current on current events, and take time to travel outside of their regular sphere of existence in order to achieve this. You may get the information you need to practice justice with wisdom by doing the following:

Reading nice and noble literature is a fantastic thing to do. Set a goal for yourself to read as many great works of literature as possible throughout your lifetime. All excellent works deal with complicated topics that call for characters to behave justly. You learn and accumulate the information you need to practice justice by reading excellent literature. Click here to see a list of The Great Books of Western Civilization. The majority of these books may be found at your local library or on Project Guttenberg.


Nothing is more important than justice. Socrates was a famous Greek philosopher.

Reading/watching news from credible sources. Every male should read at least one newspaper every day, whether online or in print. To gain a balanced perspective, read sources with both a liberal and conservative bias. While watching “The Daily Show” has its merits, reading a news source that goes deeper into the problems should be supplemented. A lack of time is not an excuse. Simply tune in to NPR throughout your daily commute to be informed about what’s going on in the nation and across the world. By staying informed about current events, you will be able to recognize the extent of unfairness in the world, gain the capacity to make decisions about how to address these injustices, and be motivated to act.

Leave your comfort zone and travel. While I don’t feel that the desire to travel is a valid reason to put off making a commitment, it is undeniably a unique approach to educate oneself. Visit a different nation when the chance comes and seek out areas and people rarely found in travel books. Leaving your comfort zone does not have to entail leaving the nation; for many guys, a new neighborhood might be just as strange. Make an effort to see locations in your own city that you would not normally visit. You’d be astonished at how much unfairness exists in your own community.

Areas in our own lives where we have the ability to practice justice

Too many folks believe that justice begins with words and ends with acts. My generation of men like to whine and complain about the issues in society, politics, and the globe, but they don’t do anything about it other than place a clever bumper sticker on the back of their Honda. To be honest, these guys are naturally disillusioned with the current power structures and the increasing realization that there is nothing we can do to alter them. But the farther they sink into indifference, the more accurate that statement becomes. Apathy is a contagious sickness that spreads from person to person as each person loses interest in fighting the good fight. The fact is that each individual is responsible for fighting for justice in whatever capacity he is capable of. Here are some ideas about how to go about it:

In our conversations, we must be fair. We discussed the virtue of truthfulness last week. When we lie to others, we deprive them of their right to the truth. This is a travesty. When we talk about another person, we tarnish their reputation without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves. This is also a kind of injustice.

Dealing fairly is the sum total of all virtues. ~Aristotle

In the workplace, there is justice. A fair employer will compensate their workers fairly. When a firm loses money, a fair CEO will refuse to accept a salary hike, and when the company does earn money, he will share part of the profits with the employees who helped make the profit possible. Just employers don’t cut shortcuts, and they don’t force their workers to work unpaid overtime. They do not attempt to defraud their workers of benefits that they have earned. As a result, honest workers do not defraud their employers by not working when they are paid to do so. They don’t call in sick when they have a hangover or are just on vacation.


In the public sphere, there is justice. The aforementioned disenchantment is nowhere more obvious than in politics. As scandal after scandal surfaces, men have become fully cynical, and another political leader who made optimistic promises throughout their campaign abandons their beliefs once in government. The issue isn’t only corrupt politicians; it’s also the indifference of citizens who remain silent while our democracy steadily degrades.

However, it has not yet sunk. There are still a few decent politicians out there, and if males get more interested in politics, more of the good apples will be elected and more of the crooked bastards will be removed. This can only happen if citizens begin to participate actively in politics. Learn more about the concerns. Ignore the nonsense that mainstream media spews from its cotton candy news machine. Participate in political campaigns. Donate to your preferred candidate, go door to door disseminating their message, post a yard sign, organize activist organizations, hand out pamphlets at school, and so on. Nothing will change until men begin to care. Do you need some inspiration? Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a film that you should see.

Justice is at the heart of society’s organization. ~Aristotle

In your neighborhood, there is justice. Even though many men doubt their ability to influence politics, no one can disagree that change is achievable when carried out one-on-one. Many folks in your neighborhood did not have a good start in life. We may contribute to the cause of justice by assisting them in achieving parity. Find a method to volunteer and help others in some manner. Become a Big Brother and guide a young guy who has been overlooked in life, showing him how he may become a man.

Another approach to practice justice in your community is to advocate for those who you believe are being physically, psychologically, or emotionally harmed by others. To determine how many people would intervene if a guy verbally abused a lady in a park, ABC News staged a scene in which a man verbally assaulted her. Surprisingly, just a small percentage of the population did. Women made up the majority of those who intervened. What’s the matter with men? I understand that in America, we take pride in our rugged individualism and strive to avoid interfering in other people’s lives, but if you see an act of abuse, do not remain silent. Make a move, dammit!

In the world, there is justice. You will be struck by the amount of unfairness in the world if you begin to pay attention to current events. Causes such as AIDS and global poverty get a lot of attention. These are good and worthwhile goals, but I believe we often approach them in the incorrect manner. Putting on massive concerts to “raise awareness” about global poverty or just dumping money in impoverished nations is a nice start, but it will not fix the issue. At these kinds of gatherings, there’s a lot of smug back patting. After a few weeks, the knowledge fades, and corrupt governments in impoverished nations squander the money we provide them. Join the Peace Corps or work for UNICEF if you want to combat injustice throughout the globe. If you can only give money, make sure it goes to a respected non-governmental organization that will spend the majority of your funds to aid people rather than cover administrative overhead. Funding microloans to assist individuals in underdeveloped nations to create small enterprises is another fantastic approach to help reduce poverty.


Start tithing if you’re feeling very ambitious. Giving to a religious institution is generally connected with tithing, although it does not have to be. You can still tithe even if you don’t go to church, aren’t religious, or don’t believe in God. Find a charity that you care about and contribute a portion of your earnings to it. Anything is possible! The environment, a political group, or a charitable organization are all good examples. Giving money to a good cause or organization demonstrates your principles. It’s your time to back up your words with deeds.




The “what was the purpose of benjamin franklin’s 13 virtues” is a question that has been asked for a long time. The answer to the question, however, is not as simple as it may seem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of virtue of justice?

A: Virtue of justice is a term that refers to the principles or virtues needed for people to live justly. It includes such things as honesty, fairness, incorruptibility and kindness.

What does justice mean in the 13 virtues?

A: Justice is one of the virtues in Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics. It has to do with treating others as they should be treated. The other eight are piety, courage, wisdom, temperance, magnanimity (generosity), liberality (prodigality), truthfulness and straightforwardness

What does Ben Franklins life story teach us about the importance of virtue in a happy life?

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  • wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.