Morality defined Albert Einsteins sense of social obligation and political justice. It thrust on him a lifelong sense of responsibility for the defenceless and the underprivileged. At the same time, his jealously guarded independence dictated a kind of splendid isolation that made him indifferent to the temptations of political influence. How did this sense of commitment arise? What were the sources of his fierce independence? How did he resolve the contradiction? This talk will explore the roots in Einsteins childhood, youth, and early professional career, covering the years from the early 1880s until 1919 when he burst onto the world stage.