Reading The Founders and the Classics is to experience just how dramatically our modes of education have changed from those Americans who founded and formed the United States. These were men who began their Latin studies as children and became deeply familiar with the classics as they grew up. They knew and loved Cicero, Livy, Sallust, and a host of other authors from the ancient Greek and Roman world. These works not only told them stories of inspiration, but instructed them in a framework of moral virtue and individual responsibility that informed all of their actions. Yet the classics also offered something more to the founders of this country. The ancient world provided a conceptual structure for the founders – a touchstone that both grounded and comforted. Their enterprise was new, but it was not without the guidance of the greatest minds that had ever lived. As Richard makes plain, for the founders the ancients were the ancestors of the American experiment.
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