Guest lecturer James Nichols discusses influence of Rome on U.S. Constitution2016-09-17 by News, Sports, and Art
The Roman Republic experienced impressive success—somewhat surprisingly in view of frequent struggles between nobles and common people—but eventually lost its republican constitution in the transformation to the Roman Empire’s one-man rule.
This lecture examines both what the founders learned from the successes of Rome’s example and what they sought to avoid from Rome’s failings. It also seeks to clarify some distinctive features of the American Constitution, as seen against the background of the Roman example.
James H. Nichols Jr., is professor of government and Dr. Jules L. Whitehill Professor of Humanism and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College and Avery Fellow at Claremont Graduate University.
His B.A., with a major in classics and political philosophy, is from Yale, and his Ph.D. in government is from Cornell. He has also taught at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York; and Yale University in Connecticut.
He worked for a year at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington as associate director of the Division of General Programs.
His publications include Epicurean Political Philosophy: On the De rerum natura of Lucretius (Cornell University Press, 1976); translations with introduction, notes, and interpretive essays of Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus (Cornell University Press, 1998); and articles on pragmatism, human rights, ancient understandings of technology, Plato’s view of philosophic education, liberalism, political economy and Tacitus.
His most recent book is Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End of History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); his most recent article is “On Leo Strauss’ ‘Notes on Lucretius’” in Brill’s Companion to Leo Strauss’ Writings on Classical Political Thought, ed. T. Burns (Brill, 2016).
This 12th annual Constitution Day lecture is part of the Chartwell Lecture Series, hosted by the UAA Department of Political Science.
Download MP3 (96:49min, 44MB)
For More Information: