Ancient Sources (from Classical Greek & Roman Literature) for the Principles Which Influenced the Founders of the
American Constitutional Republic

   The American secession from England and the founding of its system of republican government are impossible to understand apart from their roots in ancient and modern political philosophy.   Thomas Jefferson wrote that the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence were found in the "elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke & Sidney."  There is no doubt that John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government and Letter Concerning Toleration, as well as Algernon Sidney's Discourses on Government -- along with the writings of John Lilburne and Richard Overton, and such important documents of English constitutional history as the Petition of Right of 1628 and the Bill of Rights of 1689 -- were all paramount influences on Jefferson, Paine, Mason, Lee, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and others in the cause of American independence and the founding of the American republic.  And,  Blackstone's Commentaries (on the English Common Laws), published in Philadelphia in the early 1770s, had a profound effect on the growiong independence movement.   And, certainly, the impact of Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws on James Madison and on the form and structure of the national government as delineated in the U.S. Constitution of 1787 is widely acknowledged.  But the founders were also students of history and the Greek and Roman classics.  Among the ancient sources from which the founders drew inspiration and guidance were Aristotle's Politics, The Republic by Cicero, and the writings of Diogenes Laertius, Polybius, Plutarch, Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus, Titus Livius, and the Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers.  Americans today forget or ignore their culture's Grecco-Roman heritage at the peril of their freedoms and national security.

The Politics by Aristotle

The Republic and The Laws by Marcus Tullius Cicero

On Government by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Selected Works by Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated and edited by Michael Grant

The Histories by Polybius

The Discourses by Epictetus

The Annals of Imperial Rome by Tacitus

The Histories by Tacitus

Books and Essays on the Primary Sources
 "Polybius and the Founding Fathers: the Separation of Powers"  by Marshall Davies Lloyd

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