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In CHARACTER IS DESTINY, McCain tells the stories of celebrated historical figures and lesser-known heroes whose values exemplify the best of the human spirit. He illustrates these qualities with moving stories of triumph against the odds, righteousness in the face of iniquity, hope in adversity, and sacrifices for a cause greater than self-interest. The tributes he pays here to men and women who have lived truthfully will stir the hearts of young and old alike, and help prepare us for the hard work of choosing ...
In CHARACTER IS DESTINY, McCain tells the stories of celebrated historical figures and lesser-known heroes whose values exemplify the best of the human spirit. He illustrates these qualities with moving stories of triumph against the odds, righteousness in the face of iniquity, hope in adversity, and sacrifices for a cause greater than self-interest. The tributes he pays here to men and women who have lived truthfully will stir the hearts of young and old alike, and help prepare us for the hard work of choosing our destiny
Greatness knows itself.
He surrendered everything for the truth as he saw it,and shamed a king with the courage of his conscience.
Such a scene it must have been, that it broke the hardest heart that witnessed it. Margaret More Roper, beloved oldest daughter of Sir Thomas More, pushed through the crowd and past the armed guards to embrace and cover her father with kisses as he was escorted to his place of imprisonment, from where, in six days, he would be executed for the crime of being honest.
Thomas More blessed his daughter and tenderly consoled her before she reluctantly let go of him, and the somber party resumed its progress to the Tower of London. But her distress was too great to be restrained, and she again rushed to his side, to hold and kiss him. Her husband, William Roper, remembered that most of the large crowd that had gathered in curiosity to see the famous prisoner, who had been one of the most powerful men in England, wept at the sight of this sad parting of a loving father and daughter.
Thomas More was born in 1478 into a prosperous London family, but not part of the nobility that ruled England in the fifteenth century. The Mores had no inherited titles to ease their way in the world. They succeeded by their own industry, intelligence, and character. Thomas's father, John, was a successful and influential lawyer, who could afford to send his oldest son to a good school, St. Anthony's, where young Thomas impressed his tutors as a gifted, hardworking, and good-humored boy.
At the recommendation of St. Anthony's headmaster, Thomas was sent to serve as a page to the second-most-powerful man in England, Cardinal John Morton, the archbishop of Canterbury, at the archbishop's court, Lambeth Palace. It must have been a dazzling experience for a young boy, for only in the royal court was there greater splendor or more important activity; the old archbishop managed, on the king's behalf, and his own, to restrain the power of the feudal lords, who had made England in the past nearly impossible to govern. Morton was a wise and great statesman as well as a faithful prince of the Church. Thomas closely observed, admired, and learned from his master's genius for politics, which in those times was a dangerous profession, and his sincere priestly devotion. For his part, the archbishop felt great affection for his cheerful and precocious page, who he proclaimed would someday "prove to be a marvelous man."
He was so impressed by young Thomas's talents and character that he sponsored his education at Oxford University, where Thomas was a brilliant student. He loved learning, and would for the rest of his life prefer the less prestigious but more satisfying rewards of a scholar to the riches and power of the king's court. He began his studies at Oxford in the same year Columbus discovered the New World, and the Renaissance was flowering in Southern Europe. In England, the era of feudalism, when nobles ruled their lands with the power of life and death over the serfs who slaved for them, was approaching its end, and the influence of merchants, lawyers, and other prosperous commoners was on the rise.
More's father gave him only a small allowance while he was at Oxford so that he wouldn't have money to tempt him toward "dangerous and idle pastimes." Despite his poverty, Thomas...