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The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment
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The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  51 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Is our Greek and Roman heritage merely allusive and illusory? Or were our founders, and so our republican beginnings, truly steeped in the stuff of antiquity? So far largely a matter of generalization and speculation, the influence of Greek and Roman authors on our American forefathers finally becomes clear in this fascinating book - the first comprehensive study of the fo ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published August 11th 1995 by Harvard University Press (first published April 1994)
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Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Did you ever wonder why there just "happened" to be so, so many brilliant men who enabled the founding of the United States? Here's one of the major reasons why: they were not only learned in, but immense fans of the Classics. They were fans because the Classics consist of the works of the greatest, most influential, and brilliant minds in history. These writers, from ancient Greece onward, had the ability to recognize fundamentals of human nature, society, and the natural world. They identified ...more
Bryn Dunham
Interesting book. Richard discusses in depth how the ancients (Greeks & Romans)influneced the founding generations. Somewhat difficult to describe the differnt topics of the book but it definitley is not for the casual reader whose primary reading time is at night and staying awake is a must. I will have to read this again at another time too as it was pretty hard to get through. Not a lot of places in the chapters to stop and take a break either which was annoying.

I enjoyed reading how Ada
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: outside-reading
Interesting book that examines the effects of classical education on the minds and works of our Founding Fathers. Richard points out how the classics saturates the public and private writings of the time, and how only through a knowledge of the classics could one fully participate in the debates of the young American state. I especially enjoyed his chapters on symbols, models, and anti-models, as well as a chapter examining how the founders interpreted governments mentioned in classical texts an ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book covers the schools and type of education received by the founders of the United States. It gives you a clear view of who and what influenced the aouthors of the American Constitution. It is in fact surprising for Americans to find out that the authors of the constitution wrote and read French, Greek and Latin and that they actually were more influenced by French Philosophers than any others. I used this book as a basis for a Class I taught in the History of the American Constitution.
Sep 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Kate by: Required for Honors Program, freshman year of college
Oh, man. Reading this book was TORTURE. It was "a gift" for entering the Honors Program at Roger Williams University, a book we'd have to read for one of our special honors classes in our first semester. I have never been interested in classical philosophy, or the writings of the founders of our country, and now I probably never will be.

It was the painful memory of this book that almost made me stop reading Octavian Nothing, which had a similar writing style, but since Octavian was actually int
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book, and essential for a sense of how the Classics shaped the thought of the men who first shaped these United States . . . all the more vital in an age in which we are wont to forget that without the Classics, there would be no United States, and that the Greek and Latin Classics in a real sense constitute the soul of America. The degree to which we have lost touch with that is, to a large degree, the extent to which America has lost its soul.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
For anyone who doubts our nation's Greek and Roman heritage, this book should convince you otherwise. I found it most interesting how our founders used the ancients as a form of shorthand for many of their arguments about the proper form of government.
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