An quick course overview on the meaning of justice as described in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.
American Founding and 19th Century Quotes on Temperance
"In the various Enumerations of the moral Virtues I had met with in my Reading, I found the Catalogue more or less numerous, as different Writers included more or fewer Ideas under the same Name. Temperance, for Example, was by some confin'd to Eating and Drinking, while by others it was extended to mean the moderating every other Pleasure, Appetite, Inclination or Passion, bodily or mental, even to our Avarice and Ambition. I propos'd to myself, for the sake of Clearness, to use rather more Names with fewer Ideas annex'd to each, than a few Names with more Ideas; and I included under Thirteen Names of Virtues all that at that time occurr'd to me as necessary or desirable, and annex'd to each a short Precept, which fully express'd the Extent I gave to its Meaning.
These Names of Virtues with their Precepts were 1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation. …
My Intention being to acquire the Habitude of all these Virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to distract my Attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time, and when I should be Master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on till I should have gone thro' the thirteen. And as the previous Acquisition of some might facilitate the Acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd them with that View as they stand above. Temperance first, as it tends to procure that Coolness and Clearness of Head, which is so necessary where constant Vigilance was to be kept up, and Guard maintained, against the unremitting Attraction of ancient Habits, and the Force of perpetual Temptations."
"That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."
"FRUGALITY and TEMPERANCE first attract our attention. These simple but powerful virtues are the sole foundation, on which a good government can rest with security. They were the virtues which nursed and educated infant ROME, and prepared her for all her greatness. But in the giddy hour of her prosperity, she spurned from her the obscure instruments, by which it was procured; and in their place substituted luxury and dissipation. The consequence was such as might have been expected. She preserved, for some time, a gay and flourishing appearance; but the internal health and soundness of her constitution were gone. At last she fell, a victim to the poisonous draughts, which were administered by her perfidious favourites. The fate of Rome, both in her rising and in her falling state, will be the fate of every other nation that shall follow both parts of her example."
"But though direct moral teaching does much, indirect does more; and the effect my father produced on my character, did not depend solely on what he said or did with that direct object, but also, and still more, on what manner of man he was. …
He was not insensible to pleasures; but he deemed very few of them worth the price which, at least in the present state of society, must be paid for them. The greatest number of miscarriages in life, he considered to be attributable to the overvaluing of pleasures. Accordingly, temperance, in the large sense intended by the Greek philosophers—stopping short at the point of moderation in all indulgences—was with him, as with them, almost the central point of educational precept. His inculcations of this virtue fill a large place in my childish remembrances. He thought human life a poor thing at best, after the freshness of youth and of unsatisfied curiosity had gone by. This was a topic on which he did not often speak, especially, it may be supposed, in the presence of young persons: but when he did, it was with an air of settled and profound conviction."
"Σωϕροσύνη, the subject of the Charmides, is one of the most difficult words to translate in the whole Greek language. The common rendering, Temperance, corresponds to a part of the meaning, but is ridiculously inadequate to the whole. Continence, Modesty, Moderation, are all short of the mark. Self-Restraint and Self-Control are better, but imply the coercion of the character by the will, while what is required is rather a character not needing coercion. There is also in the Greek word an implied idea of order, of measure, and, as may be seen from this very dialogue, of deliberateness, which are wanting in the nearest English equivalents. Unobtrusiveness, too, is an essential part of the concept; and there is a connotation besides of Judgment or Intelligence (let us say Reasonableness); otherwise Plato could not, as he does in the Protagoras, found an apparent argument on the antithesis between σωϕροσύνη and ἀϕροσύνη. Sobriety, a word used several times in this connexion by Mr. Grote, perhaps comes nearest to the Greek word in its variety of applications; but even this hardly admits of being substituted for it in discourse, without a perpetual running comment. A still more illustrative case, interesting as an example of the relation between national language and national character, is the Greek employment of the words which we translate by Beautiful and Ugly: καλόν and αἰσχρόν. These terms, derived from purely physical characteristics, and never ceasing to carry that meaning, became the symbols, both in speculation and in daily life, of the æsthetic or artistic view of human actions and qualities, as distinguished from the useful and the simply dutiful; an aspect prominent, and even predominant, in the susceptible Grecian mind, but which, to our exclusively practical turn of thought, confirmed by monachism and puritanism, is scarcely intelligible, and our translators bungle with their 'honourable' and 'shameful' in a vain attempt to express the complicated sentiment of the Greeks on matters of conduct and character, or to understand what their writers meant. The French, whose ethical sentiment retains more of the æsthetic element, sometimes indeed out of due proportion to the prudential and the dutiful, realize better the Hellenic feeling, and can often, even in moral discussion, translate τὸ καλόν by 'le beau;' though there is no similar correlation of 'le laid' with αἰσχρόν."
"Societies are formed which regard drunkenness as the principal cause of the evils under which the State labors, and which solemnly bind themselves to give a constant example of temperance.*
*At the time of my stay in the United States the temperance societies already consisted of more than 270,000 members, and their effect had been to diminish the consumption of fermented liquors by 500,000 gallons per annum in the State of Pennsylvania alone."
"In my judgment, such of us as have never fallen victims, have been spared more by the absence of appetite, than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have. Indeed, I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant, and warm-blooded to fall into this vice. The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity. What one of us but can call to mind some dear relative, more promising in youth than all his fellows, who has fallen a sacrifice to his rapacity? He ever seems to have gone forth, like the Egyptian angel of death, commissioned to slay if not the first, the fairest born of every family. Shall he now be arrested in his desolating career? In that arrest, all can give aid that will; and who shall be excused that can, and will not? Far around as human breath has ever blown, he keeps our fathers, our brothers, our sons, and our friends, prostrate in the chains of moral death. To all the living every where we cry, "come sound the moral resurrection trump, that these may rise and stand up, an exceeding great army" -- "Come from the four winds, O breath! and breathe upon these slain, that they may live."
If the relative grandeur of revolutions shall be estimated by the great amount of human misery they alleviate, and the small amount they inflict, then, indeed, will this be the grandest the world shall ever have seen. Of our political revolution of '76, we all are justly proud. It has given us a degree of political freedom, far exceeding that of any other nation of the earth. In it the world has found a solution of the long mooted problem, as to the capability of man to govern himself. In it was the germ which has vegetated, and still is to grow and expand into the universal liberty of mankind.
But with all these glorious results, past, present, and to come, it had its evils too. It breathed forth famine, swam in blood and rode in fire; and long, long after, the orphan's cry, and the widow's wail, continued to break the sad silence that ensued. These were the price, the inevitable price, paid for the blessings it bought.
Turn now, to the temperance revolution. In it, we shall find a stronger bondage broken; a viler slavery, manumitted; a greater tyrant deposed. In it, more of want supplied, more disease healed, more sorrow assuaged. By it no orphans starving, no widows weeping. By it, none wounded in feeling, none injured in interest. Even the dram-maker, and dram seller, will have glided into other occupations so gradually, as never to have felt the change; and will stand ready to join all others in the universal song of gladness.
And what a noble ally this, to the cause of political freedom. With such an aid, its march cannot fail to be on and on, till every son of earth shall drink in rich fruition, the sorrow quenching draughts of perfect liberty. Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!
And when the victory shall be complete -- when there shall be neither a slave nor a drunkard on the earth -- how proud the title of that Land, which may truly claim to be the birth-place and the cradle of both those revolutions, that shall have ended in that victory. How nobly distinguished that People, who shall have planted, and nurtured to maturity, both the political and moral freedom of their species."
"Σωϕροσύνη [Sophrosune], the subject of the Charmides, is one of the most difficult words to translate in the whole Greek language. The common rendering, Temperance, corresponds to a part of the meaning, but is ridiculously inadequate to the whole. Continence, Modesty, Moderation, are all short of themark. Self-Restraint and Self-Control are better, but imply the coercion of the character by the will, while what is required is rather a character not needing coercion. There is also in the Greek word an implied idea of order, of measure, and, as may be seen from this very dialogue, of deliberateness, which are wanting in the nearest English equivalents. Unobtrusiveness, too, is an essential part of the concept; and there is a connotation besides of Judgment or Intelligence (let us say Reasonableness); otherwise Plato could not, as he does in the Protagoras, found an apparent argument on the antithesis between σωϕροσύνη and ἀϕροσύνη. Sobriety, a word used several times in this connexion by Mr. Grote, perhaps comes nearest to the Greek word in its variety of applications; but even this hardly admits of being substituted for it in discourse, without a perpetual running comment."
"With respect to this practical pessimism, Socrates is the original picture of the theoretical optimist, who, as I have described, in the belief that we could come to understand the nature of things, thinks that the power of a universal medicine is contained in knowledge and discovery and that evil inherently consists of error. To push forward with that reasoning and to separate true knowledge from appearance and from error seemed to the Socratic man the noblest, even the single truly human, vocation, and so from Socrates on, that mechanism of ideas, judgments, and conclusions has been valued as the highest activity and the most admirable gift of nature, above all other capabilities. Even the noblest moral deeds, the emotions of pity, of self-sacrifice, of heroism and that calmness in the soul, so difficult to attain, which the Apollonian Greeks called sophrosyne—all these were derived by Socrates and his like-minded descendants right up to the present time from the dialectic of knowledge and therefore described as teachable. Whoever has experienced for himself the delight of a Socratic discovery and feels how this, in ever-widening circles, seeks to enclose the entire world of phenomena, will from then on find no spur capable of pushing him into existence more intense than the desire to complete that conquest and to weave a solid impenetrable net. To a man so minded, the Platonic Socrates then appears as the teacher of an entirely new form of 'Greek serenity' and of a blissful existence, which seeks to discharge itself in actions and which will find this discharge, for the most part, in those influences which come from acting as a midwife to and educating noble disciples, in order finally to produce a genius."