Who Influenced the American Founders? Back-to-School Basics, Part 9

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Episode Description:
While the American founders were influenced by many sources, ancient influences from Greek and Roman traditions were especially notable. Learn more about those that influenced the foundations of the U.S. in this episode!

Who Influenced the American Founders? Back-to-School Basics, Part 9

Welcome to 60-Second Civics, the daily podcast of the Center for Civic Education. I'm Mark Gage.


America's Founders learned about government from their experiences in self-government as subjects of the British Empire.


They also learned about government by reading history and philosophy, particularly that of ancient Greece and Rome and the works of sixteenth and seventeenth-century philosophers.


Their ancient influences included the Greek philosopher Aristotle and the Roman statesman Cicero, among many others. 


Aristotle was a student of the philosopher Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great.


Considered one of the great philosophers in the Western intellectual tradition, he wrote on subjects as diverse as government, logic, rhetoric, ethics, poetry, and biology.


Cicero wrote extensively about politics and philosophy, much of his work focusing on the defense and improvement of the Roman Republic. 


Cicero's De Officiis, a profound meditation on morality and moral duty, including moral principles as applied to public life, deeply influenced Western civilization since its writing in 44 BC. 


De Officiis was so influential that when the printing press was invented, it was the second book to be printed after the Bible.


Cicero’s ideas on the importance of duty and sacrificing for the common good were very influential in the colonies.


That’s all for today’s podcast.


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