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Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts: How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers

Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts: How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers

Paperback

By (author) Carl J. Richard

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  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 15mm | 331g
  • Publication date: 31 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Lanham, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0742556247
  • ISBN 13: 9780742556249
  • Sales rank: 1,017,943

Product description

This lively and engaging book is the only popular work to explore the profound impact of Ancient Greece and Rome on the Founding Fathers. The classical education they imbibed as young students inspired them to undertake the American Revolution and influenced their approach to a host of constitutional and practical issues crucial to the shaping of the new American republic. Recounting the stirring stories the founders encountered in their favorite histories of Greece and Rome, renowned scholar Carl J. Richard explores what they learned from these vivid tales and how they applied these lessons to their own heroic quest to win American independence and establish a durable republic. Richard explains how the founders learned the importance of individual rights from the absence of those rights in Sparta, the superiority of republican government to monarchy from the Greek victory over the Persians, the perils of democracy from the instability of Athens, the need for a strong central government from the fall of Greece to Macedon and Rome, the importance of virtue to the success of a republic from early Rome, the need for eternal vigilance against ambitious individuals from the fall of the Roman republic, and the preciousness of liberty from its destruction by the Roman emperors. Crucial to the decisions that shaped the United States, these lessons remain invaluable today for every citizen concerned with America's future course.

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Author information

Carl J. Richard is professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Review quote

The conciseness and liveliness with which Richard reviews the ancient histories make his book a useful resource for all. Recommended. CHOICE [An] engaging account of what the founding generation knew about the classical world... This book is well worth owning. Beyond showing what kind of education the Founders had and sketching out how it shaped their own accomplishments, it serves as an introduction to the kind of education that most of us have missed out on-and reminds us that it's never too late to get started. Human Events Renowned classicist Carl J. Richard ... delves into the lessons of history that the Founders leaned upon... A necessary reminder of where to look if one seeks the deepest roots of American liberty. New American Carl Richard has given us another engaging and lucid glimpse into the rich and fascinating classical world of America's founding generation. With his thorough knowledge of both the classical past and how men in the eighteenth century understood it, Richard is able to show a broad audience of modern readers-who themselves may know little about the classical world-why ancient Greece and Rome have so long attracted Americans like a magnet. -- Caroline Winterer, Stanford University Carl Richard has written a book that is as entertaining as it is informative. He brings the words and world of the Greek and Roman ancients to life with the same passion and understanding that kindled the Founding Fathers. Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the moral and intellectual sources that inspired the founders and helped define the ideals of American democracy. -- Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion I have read Carl Richard's Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts with great pleasure. This is superb work. Historians of the American founding have long known that the founders were powerfully influenced by the ancient writers, but in the absence of long and tedious labors have not known enough about the subject to make their own studies complete. Richard has performed those labors for us and presented his findings in a way that is both crisply written and richly informative. -- Forrest McDonald, University of Alabama; author of We the People

Table of contents

Chapter 1: The Storytellers and the Founders Chapter 2: Sparta and Individual Rights Chapter 3: The Persian Wars and the Superiority of Republican Government Chapter 4: Athens and the Perils of Democracy Chapter 5: The Fall of Greece and the Need for a Strong Central Government Chapter 6: Early Rome and Republican Virtue Chapter 7: The Fall of the Roman Republic and the Need for Vigilance Chapter 8: The Roman Emperors and the Preciousness of Liberty Conclusion