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Well put. The post-liberal critics of the American Founders would do well to actually read a few Founders - the Roman Republic was more influential on them than Modern (meaning after Machiavelli) Rationalists.

I’ve long been fond of Roman history and there is much to love in the Republican period for all its many flaws. Rome had perhaps republicanism without liberalism, and it was a highly unequal and very aristocratic society. But compared to all who came before them (save perhaps the Greeks) and many who would come after (at least for fifteen-hundred years), the Roman Republic represented a stunning achievement in human freedom and flourishing. They grasped at something and though they fall very far short of perfection, they knew they had something good.

Cato is one of the best examples of Roman virtus. I’m also of the opinion that Brutus and Cassius were patriots. I’m taken with Tacitus’ description of them. Writing much later, he seemed to really understand as few others did just how far Rome had fallen, and what they had really lost. He knew there was something worth preserving in the Roman Republic and he seemed impressed by the tragedy for the human race that was its fall. If you haven’t read his account of the early imperial period, I highly recommend it.

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