Posts Tagged 'preview'

Morning Lecture guest column — Classical influences on the Founders: Myth or reality?

Morning Lecture guest column — Classical influences on the Founders: Myth or reality?

Guest column by Hunter Rawlings III. Rawlings will give Monday’s Morning Lecture at 10:45 a.m. in the Amphitheater.

Were our Founding Fathers motivated and influenced by the Greek and Roman classics, or is this just a nice myth that makes us feel connected to our European past? This turns out to be a real question, one about which serious scholars have had serious disagreements. Some have argued that our founders’ use of the classics was mere “window dressing,” meant to puff up their Enlightenment ideas with high-sounding rhetoric and impressive paradigms from the past. Others have pointed to our “mixed government” and to the founders’ frequent citations of Greek and Roman authors as clear evidence that our republican institutions were consciously modeled on classical practices and patterns. Which is it, myth or reality?