Citizenship, Politics, and the American Character, Part 1 of 5

A five-part series combines a discussion of ethics, American history, ancient history and classics, and political science and features scholars John Agresto, Alvin Bernstein, Edward Erler, Marvin Meyers, and Jean Yarbrough. Here, they discuss the connection between politics and character, and the links between character and citizenship, by comparing the Roman Republic to the United States. They contrast ancient character-enforcing laws with the U. S. Constitution’s comparative indifference to controlling the character of the citizenry.

At the time of this interview, Agresto, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1978-79), was special projects officer at the Center. Bernstein was professor of ancient history and classics at Cornell University. Erler, a Fellow at the Center (1981-82), was professor of political science at California State College–San Bernardino. Meyers, a Fellow at the Center (1981-82), was professor of history at Brandeis University. Yarbrough was professor of political science at Loyola University Chicago.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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