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The Greeks and the Founding Fathers

May 11, 2016

America’s Founding Fathers weren’t building from scratch.  They were deeply versed in the philosophy, culture, and history of the ancient world.  They studied Aristotle’s explanation of the role of law in society, Plato’s arguments about the weaknesses of democracy, and Epicurus’s ideas about the pursuit of happiness in life.  In a series of three lectures for the Politismos Museum of Greek History, the Goldwater Institute’s Vice President for Litigation, Timothy Sandefur, explores the influences of the Greeks on America’s founders.  The first, “The Greek Frame,” explores Thomas Jefferson’s embrace of the ideas of Epicurus, a Greek philosopher who once rivaled Plato and Aristotle for popularity, but is today often overlooked.  The ideas of Epicurus, Sandefur explains, provided the framework for the founding fathers’ approach to freedom and to living a happy and fulfilled life.


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