The basic meaning of “rectitude” is uprightness. More specifically, there are two interpretations of “rectitude.” The first interpretation refers to words and deeds that meet the moral standards or the rules of propriety. To be “upright” is to refrain from doing anything immoral or illegal for the sake of personal gain. However, because there are different understandings of morality and propriety, there are also different views, even conflicting ones, of how “rectitude” is manifested. The second interpretation of being “upright” is acting in accordance with facts and not concealing the truth in order to meet the expectations or needs of others.
Confucius asked, “Who said Weisheng Gao is upright? Someone asked him for vinegar, and (without saying he did not have any) he got some from his neighbor for the man.” (The Analects)
Duke Ai of the State of Lu asked, “How can I win over the people?” Confucius replied, “If you promote upright people and put them above crooked ones, you will win over the people; if you promote crooked people and put them above upright ones, you will not win over the people.” (The Analects)