Good Breeding – Burke Academy Lesson 1.

To Be Well Bred

To be bred in a place of estimation

Edmund Burke listed several qualities of a Natural Aristocracy in his pamphlet entitled, Appeal from the new to the old Wigs. From these qualities we will extrapolate lessons for how we can endeavor to emulate the qualities that make a natural, and as I like to think, an American, aristocrat.


Edmund Burke – Source –

Breeding is not a foreign idea to me, growing up on a farm I often saw the value in selecting the best animals to produce better ones, but that’s not what Mr. Burke intends us to think. Jonathon Swift wrote in A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding, “Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred in the company.” Good breeding is an element of character and manners not royal ancestry.

“To be bred in a place of estimation;” does not mean to be born to a rich or wealthy family, but rather to be born of a good family.

Here in America we are not bound to the class system of England in the 18th century, if you are born into a family of ill repute you can change that reputation by your own actions and provide your decedents with a legacy to be proud of.

To see nothing low and sordid from one’s infancy;

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the word “sordid” so let’s define it.

sordid |ˈsôrdid|
involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt.

– Apple Dictionary

We all like to think our politicians and leaders walk in the light with no guile or hidden secrets, regrettably that is often a false hope. To be a natural or true aristocrat one must shun the darkness in the world, acknowledging it’s presence but defying it’s demanding.

One must have a developed character to be a natural and honest leader. Since before Burke’s time far to many politicians have been known to behave inappropriately, but why limit it to politicians? Actors, CEO’s, professors, people from every profession and kind of leadership can fall into this trap.


Source –

Decide Your Breed – If you want to be well bred you must first determine and work for it. Polish your natural manners to make yourself a gentleman or lady in your own right, by that determination you begin to separate yourself from the common to the uncommon.

Guard Your Mind – Protect yourself from the sordid elements of life. In your pursuit of your character the relationship between you and the low things of life must end, those sordid things are as heavy anchors, tying men and women to low estate and quality. Break away from bad habits and people of ill repute.

Check back next week for the next lesson!


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