While reading about Catherine The Great’s reign over eighteenth century Russia, I came across a list of her resolutions, written by her shortly after taking power. With ideas like these, the world can hardly doubt her good intentions in the early years of her sovereignty. She wrote:
Study mankind, lean to use men without surrendering to them unreservedly. Search for true merit, be it at the other end of the world, for usually it is modest and retiring.
Do not allow yourself to become the prey of flatterers; make them understand that you care neither for praise nor for obsequiousness. Have confidence in those who have the courage to contradict you, . . . and who place more value on your reputation than on your favor.
Be polite, humane, accessible, compassionate, and liberal-minded. Do not let your grandeur prevent you from condescending with kindness toward the small, and putting yourself in their place. See that this kindness, however, does not weaken your authority nor diminish their respect. . . . Reject all artificiality.
Do not allow the world to contaminate you to the point of making you lose the ancient principles of honor and virtue. . . .
I swear by Providence to stamp these words into my heart.
What a world we would enjoy if the politicians of all nations would stamp these ideas onto their hearts and live every day by them.