"If we ask what virtue and corruption meant to the founding fathers the answer is clear from the quotations I have just cited and from many more I could have cited. Franklin described it as "zeal for the public good." Jefferson put it a little differently when he described virtue as "a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct, in short, which prompts us irresistibly to feel and to succor their distresses." Corruption is the opposite of "zeal for the public good." It is exclusive concern for one’s own good, for, in Franklin’s words, "thousands per annum." For Jefferson, corruption consists in forgetting oneself "in the sole faculty of making money."
- Robert Bellah, The American Revolution and Civil Religion