Whether or not we find these contemporary parallels apt, Rahe’s focus may help us understand Sparta’s important role in early modern Europe, on which he has written significant scholarship. Rousseau modeled his ideal communities on Sparta. American patriot Samuel Adams dreamed of his native Boston as “a Christian Sparta” that valued virtue over wealth, though New England ended up pursuing the more Athenian path of a democratic commercial republic. With the deindustrialization of America and the growth of a large standing army, we may come to appreciate the virtues of Sparta once again.
The Iowa caucuses are in the rear-view mirror, the New Hampshire primary looms on the horizon, and by most media accounts, the leitmotif of Campaign 2016 is “anger.” As in: a lot-of-Americans-are-angry-and-that-explains-the attraction-of-certain-candidates, whether that be the . . . . Continue Reading »