Modern Ideas from Antiquity

MLA citation:

Walbank, Frank W.. Polybius, Rome and the Hellenistic World: Essays and Reflections, Cambridge University Press, 2002. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/brooklyn-ebooks/detail.action?docID=217900.

The search word that I used is “Polybius “United States” constitution” and the article that I chose is Polybius, Rome and the Hellenistic World: Essays and Reflections by Frank W. Walbank. This book discusses various works of Polybius related to historical problems and his views as it relates to modern times.

The primary intended audience for this publication is scholars since it is a scholarly article. It goes in depth about Polybius both as a historian and as a historical figure and expects the audience to know information regarding the Polybius and the historical circumstances related to him.

The author connects search terms by discussing how Polybius influenced the Founding Fathers and the United States Constitution. He discusses Polybius’s books and relates “interest in Polybius occurred at the time of the American revolution when his sixth book came up in discussion among the founding fathers of the Republic…classical inheritance in the thought of John Adams, especially in relation to Polybius’ remarks on the mixed constitution and on federalism” (Welbank, 2002).

This classical inheritance in thoughts of the Founding Fathers was what Polybius described as “it is the people who bestow office on the deserving, noblest regard of virtue in a state, the people have the power of approving or rejecting laws…they deliberate on the question of war and peace…one might plausibly say that the people’s share in the government is the greatest and that constitution is a democratic one” (the Roman Republic, pg 9). This extract from Polybius explains the basis of a democratic government and this idea from antiquity influenced many modern governmental constitutions such as the United States as discussed in the article by Welbank, Frank. W.

Masuma, Team Mercury.

 

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It is Time to Remember our Constitution

When I search the term ” Polybius ‘United States’ constitution “, the article that most caught my attention was “The Constitution, by Hand”. After reading it through, I found out that it is not an article related to Polybius, but it is so interesting that I would like to talk about it for this assignment. The author, Morgan O’Hara, he is an artist and he had a thought by the beginning of 2017 when our Mr. president Donald Trump inaugurated. He started an artistic protest for minorities who have been attacked due to racist discrimination, he hand-copied the constitution in public places. The public followed what was he doing, more and more people joined him to copy the constitution fragments. The primary audience that O’Hara intended to motive in this article is to all the people in the United States, as he mentions: “It is important for us to become more intensely aware of our rights as citizens of the United States, so that as the current government tries to take them away….” O’Hara wants to be an example to let people think about how is our constitution protect all the United States citizen and non-citizen and how is our Mr. president being racist to immigrants. In the ancient texts that we read, it presents:” Thus here again one might plausibly say that the people’s share in the government is the greatest and that the constitution is a democratic one. ” It states that the democracy with the constitution is the best government form. This was the reason of why O’Hara started his artistic protest and wrote it down in words form “The Constitution, by Hand”, he also believed that the constitution is the document that supports the democratic government and it protects our right.

 

O’Hara, Morgan. “The Constitution, by Hand.” New York Times, 2 July 2017, p. 2(L). Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=cuny_broo39667&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA497526732&it=r&asid=f9d2059b0052ddb6ec700a769d83eed1. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

 

Qiyi, Team Vesta

The Right To Be Forgotten

(1) MLA Citation: Byrum, Kristie. “The European right to be forgotten: A challenge to the United States Constitution’s First Amendment and to professional public relations ethics.” ScienceDirect, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania , Mar. 2017, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S036381111630409X.

(2) This journal entry’s intended audience appears to be scholars focused on Europe’s “right to be forgotten” and its clash with the U.S Bill of Rights’ first amendment,  and possibly lawyers dealing with the first amendment and the right of free speech, and one’s privacy on the internet.

(3)The author does not directly connect the search terms

 

(4) “Then as long as some of those survive who experienced the evils of oligarchical dominion, they are well pleased with the present form of government, and set a high value on equality and freedom of speech. But when a new generation arises and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders, they have become so accustomed to freedom and equality that they no longer value them”

In todays modern age and the ease of accessibility of information on the internet on an individuals background brings up the question as to whether or not this violates a human’s right to privacy. A right that is taken for granted until it jeopardizes that individual’s future. As shown in this quote as we become more accustomed to these freedoms we begin to neglect them and as a result they no longer get the attention they deserve.

Oliver, Team Hestia

The US Constitution and the Roman Republic

The title of the chosen search return is “Founding of the American Political System” by Richard J. Hardy.  The article primarily focuses on how the American Constitution shaped the United States government and politics.

MLA Citation:
Hardy, Richard J. “Founding of the American Political System” Gale Virtual Reference
Library. 
Vol 2, 2011, pp 685-698. 21st Century Reference Series.
http://go.galegroup.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ps/i.do?
p=GVRL&u=cuny_broo39667&id=GALE|CX1701100096&v=2.1&it=
              r&sid=exlibris&authCount=1

For this publication, the intended audience would be most likely anyone and everyone who is interested in information regarding the United States Constitution as well as professional insight on what the American political system is. Students intending to write a research paper for educational purposes might find this publication useful, and teachers who are teaching a course related to the constitution might want to share this with his/her students.

The author is able to connect the search terms to one another by successfully transitioning into another paragraph and further expanding into a new search term that follows the theme of the first. For example, the first paragraph ends with “The following is a brief description of each of these landmark documents and how they influenced subsequent American political documents” this transition sentence informs the audience that another topic is going to be discussed in the following paragraph, which it is as the author begins to explain the Magna Carta.

“The three kinds of government that I spoke of above all shared in the control of the Roman state. And such fairness and propriety in all respects was shown in the use of these three elements for drawing up the constitution and in its subsequent administration that it was impossible even for a native to pronounce with certainty whether the whole system was aristocratic, democratic, or monarchical.” (ancient text from readings on the Roman Republic p 8) This lengthy quote is the most relevant to the publication chosen because in this section, the Roman Constitution is explained, so the author writes about the types of government that has control over the Roman State. Additionally, in the Roman Republic, the constitution is written for things to be fair  which is relevant to the publication given that it mentions the the US constitution and how it makes our government fair.

Sunzida, Team Athena

constitution.jpg

Polybius vs. The World

In the article, “Origin of the species; Direct democracy,” a writer from The Economist analyzes different feelings and adoptions of direct democracy from all over the world and from different time periods for its readers. The writer how California, the founding fathers, Polybius, Aristole, and other Greek thinkers, and Switzerland felt about direct democracy when creating government systems. The writer shows how later governments embraced direct democracy and how older governments rejected it. Polybius and Aristotle rejected direct democracy because they felt like it led to mob rule and would be unstable. Polybius even stated in his writings, “and when the commons inflamed by anger take vengeance on this government for its unjust rule, democracy comes into being; and in due course the licence and lawlessness of this form of government produces mob-rule to complete the series.” The writer connects Polybius’ ideas to the ideas of the founding fathers by saying, “To this Roman ideal of republicanism the thinkers of the Enlightenment added more liberal notions of freedom.” This connects Polybius’ ideas to the founding fathers’ ideas because the founding fathers were heavily influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers.  When talking about when the founding fathers were making the United States Constitution, the writer talks about how the founding fathers debated heavily about how direct or indirect American democracy should be. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were Federalist and against direct democracy while Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists wanted direct democracy.  The Federalists saw America being diverse and large so if they did have direct democracy, there was a large chance that the majority would oppress the minority. The debate ended with a Representative Republic with a division of power that has held up since its creation 1787. This relates to Polybius’ ideas because like the founding fathers’, Polybius believed in the separation of powers. When talking about Polybius’ feeling about the separation of powers, the article states, “It had executives (in the shape of two annually elected consuls), an elite in the senate, and outlets for the vox populi in the popular assemblies.” This resembles America’s three branches of government: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and judicial branch. Also, the senate and the popular assemblies resemble the two houses of the legislative branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The writer then contrasts Polybius’s and the founding fathers beliefs with California’s and Switzerland’s beliefs. In California, the government embraced direct democracy by adopting referendums, initiatives, and recalls, three things necessary for direct democracy. In Switzerland, the government took America’s Constitution and then applied direct democracy to it so that it would be easier to solve conflict through referendums, recalls, and initiatives. This article shows a contrast in beliefs about direct democracy and how it can be applied in many different ways.

Emily Ryan, Team Mars

“Origin of the species; Direct democracy.” The Economist, 23 Apr. 2011, p. 6(US). Academic OneFilego.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=cuny_broo39667&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA254503624&it=r&asid=8adeb8471d0bfd150308e191ac30551e. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

What is the Best Government?

When we think of the best or perfect government, many will say something along the lines of, “A democracy, what else is there?”, because of the fact that we live in the United States of America. But in reality, there are a lot of different types of government that have been established. For example an aristocracy is a system of government that is based on hereditary status and connections through royal blood , that allow for that small, wealthy group of nobles, the Aristocrats to have all the power. Similarly, an Oligarchy a system where the rule of the few, small group of people is established, but not necessarily through “royal blood.” In addition there is such a thing as a Monarchy, which is a system that places supreme power of the state in the hands of a single person or family, the Monarch. Albeit there are myriad of deviations that have been established in the past, such as a constitutional monarchy, unitary state, a parliament. But that list is an endless one.

“The constitution should remain for long in a state of equilibrium like a well-trimmed boat, kingship being guarded from arrogance by the fear of the commons, who were given a sufficient share in the government, and the commons on the other hand not venturing to treat the kings with contempt from fear of the elders, who being selected from the best citizens would be sure all of them to be always on the side of justice; so that that part of the state which was weakest owing to its subservience to traditional custom, acquired power and weight by the support and influence of the elders.” 

This quote from the extracts of Polybius illustrate how Polybius believed that there should be a form of checks and balances in government, a separation of powers should be put in place. The piece of writing that I chose to analyze is an essay, The Rise and Fall of the Separation of Powers, by Steven G. Calabresi, Mark E. Berghausen & Skylar Albertson that expands on that belief and praises Polybius and other philosophers who thought alike. This essay talks about the origins of the concept of the separation of powers and, as you can tell by the title, the fall of such a concept. It talks of how modern governments implement the separation of powers, a prime example is the United States of America. In addition, the essay talks of how the concept of the separation of powers originated from the ideal of a “mixed regime”. A mixed regime is the form of government that combines elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. It states how many philosophers and scholars, such as Polybius, conceived of such an ideal so that the not-so-desired offspring of a mixed regime (anarchy, oligarchy and tyranny) could not be formed. This way, Polybius’ Anacyclosis cannot take its full effect and therefore, the undesirable forms of government found in that cycle could not develop and be bypassed.

My search, from which I got this search return from, was “Polybius ‘United States’ constitution.” The authors of this essay connect these two terms quite a lot, as I might have hinted at above. They talk of Polybius’ mixed regime and they connect him and it to the constitution of the United States. They talk of how our government and our constitution aren’t exactly a fully realized or exact definition of a mixed regime.  which is why, as I said before, they believe that our constitution and government lack the full definition of a separation of powers. “our Constitution has actually
operated in practice over the last 220 years as a democratized version of the Mixed Regime rather than as a functional separation of powers. The idea of
the Mixed Regime is a whole lot older than the idea of the separation of
powers, and it may well be more enduring. The writings of Aristotle,
Polybius, Cicero, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Machiavelli all illustrate this
point. The way a regime works, in practice, may show the the nature of the
regime. It may be the case that the U.S. Constitution inadvertently gave rise
to a democratized version of the Mixed Regime. If so, then that is an error
which our generation of Americans needs to correct.” 
They call the U.S. constitution and government a democratized version of a mixed regime and thereby believe that it is a dysfunctional separation of powers. In addition, they later call the U.S. government more of an oligarchy (which I don’t fully disagree with) and that “[Americans] need to revive the functional separation of powers.” Based on this viewpoint and the fact that it prompts whoever may read it(most likely students) and the citizens of the U.S.  to establish a true mixed regime and “revive the functional separation of powers,” I believe that this essay’s primary intended audience is the wide public who are possibly interested in the affairs of law, politics, government, and scholars or philosophers .

All in all, I found this essay to be extremely enlightening and extremely connected to Polybius and his ideals and values.

Appropriate MLA citation:

Calabresi, Steven G., et al. “The Rise and Fall of the Separation of Powers.” Northwestern University Law Review, vol. 106, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 527-549. EBSCOhost, ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=82514124&site=ehost-live.

Sean, Team Ares