Lucas Swaine, Associate Professor of Government

Should those holding high office be prepared to act in immoral ways for the good of the country? Must American leaders be willing to do whatever it takes to win, in a world full of ruthless and unscrupulous adversaries? In this 2011 lecture, Professor Swaine considers what kinds of actions political leaders in democracies should be willing—or unwilling—to perform in office. He addresses these questions by bringing the moral character of leaders into focus and applying character to such issues as lying in politics, killing civilians in war, and torture.