Discovery Guides Areas


A Revolutionary Reading List:
The Intellectual Tradition that Influenced the U.S. Founding Fathers

(Released April 2010)

  by Carolyn Scearce  


Key Citations





Archon: In ancient Greece an archon might hold the position of chief magistrate, or a group of archons might share authority over civic, military, or religious affairs of state.

Enlightenment: An era in philosophy of Europe and America, roughly occurring around the 18th century, that emphasized the use of reason in intellectual, scientific, and political pursuits.

The Gracchi: A pair of brothers, Tiberius and Gaius, who lived during the 2nd century of the Roman republic. Both brothers served as tribunes, representatives of the lowest economic class of Roman citizens. They tried to institute land reform to more evenly distribute agricultural lands among Roman citizens and were both assassinated.

Magistrates: The executive branch of the Roman Republic, including the top office of consul and other more minor offices.

Reign of Terror: A period during the French Revolution that ranged from the summer of 1793 to the summer of 1794. During this period thousands of people judged to be enemies of the revolution, including the French king and queen, were executed. Many were beheaded by means of the guillotine.

Republic: By classical definition a republic is a form of government whose constitution blends aspects of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. A republic was judged to be a more stable government than the unblended aspects of the three forms of government.

Republican: A partisan of a classical republic. Someone who believes in the superiority of a government whose constitution blends aspect of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.