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Old-world literature greatly influenced America’s founders. Can classical knowledge help remedy our 21st-century political ills?

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America’s founding fathers were educated in classical Greek and Roman literature and philosophy. In his newest release, acclaimed writer Thomas Ricks demonstrates how this immersion and interest in ancient knowledge played a significant role in the shaping of the United States of America's constitution and government, and why it matters today.

Ricks’ book dives deep into the education and communications of four Revolutionary leaders, and uncovers how an engrossment in ancient Greek and Roman works influenced the men as individuals and collectively impacted the trajectory of the nation.

How did the classics shape the founders’ beliefs about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; the value of virtue and threat of factionalism?

How did classical works influence their approach to forming and maintaining a new country? Is the America we have now what its founders intended it to be? Can ancient knowledge be used as a guide to remedy 21st-century political ills?

Guest: Thomas E. Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author; his latest book is “First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country” (2021)

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, November 15.