2004-2005 A More Perfect Union: Wisconsin Reads
In his January 2003 inaugural speech, Governor Jim Doyle promised, “From here on out, restoring Wisconsin’s reputation for clean and honest government will be a sacred commitment, not an empty and neglected rhetorical flourish.”
His promise raises several good questions: What is “clean and honest” government? Who is responsible for its restoration? Certainly, politicians have an important part to play, but the preamble to the Constitution places responsibility for the formation of a more perfect union firmly in the hands of the people. What, then, can “we, the people” do to ensure a cleaner, more honest perfect union?
The four books in this series prompt us to explore both the ideal and real characters that make up governments, past and present. They ask: What kinds of ethical compromises did our Founding Fathers tolerate in order to form “a more perfect union”? What kinds of ethical compromises, if any, are we willing to tolerate today? Do good people make good politicians? Or does good politics require some suspension of personal integrity? What is an appropriate balance between self-interest and general welfare?
Books for the 2004-2005 series:
Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods
Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
Aeschylus, The Oresteia, in a new translation by Ted Hughes
James Clavell, The Children’s Story
Click HERE for a list of scholars who are interested in facilitating discussion for A More Perfect Union discussion group
Click HERE for a “Wisconsin Reads ” application
For more information on these books, or to receive a discussion guide, contact Jessica Becker, 608-263-3155.