master workman


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As revealed in the 1595 edition of the Essais, Montaigne interposed between his references to "conscience" and "laziness" an appreciation of Plato's practice: "a master workman (maistre ouvrier) in all political government [who] nevertheless abstained from it," as if to distinguish the possession of a skill from its application, or the ownership of a resource from its use, precisely the distinctions La Boetie made decades earlier when defining the conditions of freedom and servitude.
In 1879, he was elected Grand Master Workman, leader of the Knights of Labor, to succeed Uriah Stephens.