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Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
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Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

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Appropriations of Cicero and Cato in the Making of American Civic Identity

Appropriations of Cicero and Cato in the Making of American Civic Identity

Chapter:
(p.78) (p.79) 6 Appropriations of Cicero and Cato in the Making of American Civic Identity
Source:
Classics in the Modern World
Author(s):

Barbara Lawatsch Melton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.003.0006

This chapter explores the emergence of Cicero and Cato as iconic figures in eighteenth-century America and their reception in the early republic and antebellum era, focusing on their role in the evolution of a democratic political culture in the United States. Examining receptions of Cicero and Cato among both elites and wider circles of society, the study investigates the significance of classical icons in shaping ideals of leadership and civic engagement, concepts of liberty, and the foundational narrative of the United States. It also points to the role of the classical legacy in promoting oratory as a vital component of American democratic culture and in highlighting paradoxes and contentious issues within the public sphere. While exploring the role of classical receptions in the evolving democracy, the chapter also evaluates their significance in more recent trends and appropriations of the classics—particularly as they relate to essential aspects of American civic and political culture. Politicians discussed include John Adams, George W. Bush, Cato (the Younger/of Utica), Columbian Orator (Bingham), and Barack Obama

Keywords:   John Adams, George W. Bush, Cato (the Younger/of Utica), Barack Obama

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