Quam Rem Publicam? Crisis and Recovery in Cicero's Rome and Reconstruction America

Date
2014
Authors
Blake, Travis
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Worldwide access
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Abstract

Rome and the United States: two civilizations that shaped the world in their time. Neither nation climbed to such heights without great struggle, and this offering is a comparative analysis between respective moments of chaos in these two histories: The Catilinarian Conspiracy and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson. The safety of the Roman Republic was threatened in 63 B.C. when the Senator Lucius Sergius Catilina formed a conspiracy to overthrow the government under the Consul, Marcus Tullius Cicero. To thwart the Conspiracy, Cicero would deliver four Orations against it, and the fate of the Republic would rest in his ability to persuade the Senate and People of Rome of the danger Catiline and his associates presented. Across the Atlantic and 1,931 years later, in the wake of a great Civil War, Andrew Johnson faced a powerful political enemy in the Radical Republicans who virulently opposed his moderate Reconstruction policy; after much provocation these enemies passed the articles of impeachment, and for the first time in American history, the President would stand trial before the Senate. The goal of this study is to analyze the two situations presented, understanding their context and significance, and then to find the common threads among the many differences between these two events.

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Keywords
Reconstruction. Cicero. Catiline. Andrew Johnson. Radical Republican.
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