American Classical Leadership Education® » Truth, Virtue, Wisdom

Truth, Virtue, Wisdom

The end of the American Classical Leadership Education® is a great citizen and noble soul who seeks truth, is schooled by wisdom, and has the virtue to act on that wisdom. Truth, virtue, and wisdom embody servant leadership, which is pursuing causes greater than self—the very heart of the John Adams Academy mission.

In fact, John Adams declared: “Wisdom and knowledge [of truth], as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, [is] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties . . . .”[1]


In the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson gave pen to the Declaration of Independence and thereby embalmed in our American heritage the fundamental philosophical principle that there are objective truths and natural laws that govern our world which are discoverable through unaided human reason. The American Classical Leadership Education®, therefore, is guided by the understanding that there is an objective reality independent of our minds; truth is knowledge that corresponds with that reality. As an academy, not only do we recognize that truth exists, we also know all scholars have the capacity to know truth and talk about truth, recognize the good, and appreciate that which is beautiful. The John Adams Academy American Classical Leadership Education® is a model in pursuit of the true, good, and beautiful and rejects skepticism, subjectivism, and relativism.

Only with a knowledge of things as they were and as they are can we have the wisdom to fully exercise our agency to make choices that affect our future.

It is important to remember that while man is able to know the truth, we do not claim to know all true things. The humble pursuit of truth lasts throughout a lifetime and beyond. To know, to love, and to serve the truth is integral to servant leadership.

The curriculum and pedagogy of an American Classical Leadership Education® ennobles scholars through opportunities to grow in wisdom. Wisdom in its highest form is perfect knowledge of the highest truths in their rightful order, which leads to a disposition of the heart and mind to judge rightly the best course of action in every pursuit. Wisdom comes after experience is understood in the light of truth. As a scholar gains wisdom, his ability to order and govern increases, and he is liberated to know best how to act well and serve justly.



While knowledge of truth and wisdom allow one to know what is best, it is the virtuous who have the disposition and habits to do what is good and right. For example, the virtue of courage enables a leader to do what is right in the face of disapproval, ridicule, or even violence. The virtue of temperance or self-control lifts a leader above his or her own and society’s debilitating appetites. A strong sense of justice raises a leader above prejudice and personal feelings to treat all people, even enemies, with equanimity.


Knowledge of truth, wisdom to discern the best course, and virtue to do what is right embody servant leadership.


[1] John Adams, et al., The Constitution Of the State of Massachusetts, adopted 1780.