Advertisement

Roman Parallels: Plutarch and the Trump Election

  • Mark Shiffman
Chapter

Abstract

Plutarch’s analysis of statesmen and regimes through analogy and dis-analogy makes him a promising guide for reflection on what the election of a man like Trump reveals about the condition of contemporary America and its constitutional order. Examination of the Roman republican regime, and especially the role in it of the office of tribune, sheds light on a deficiency in the American constitutional order that Trump has exploited. Placing post-Cold War America in parallel with post-Punic War Rome reveals similarities in the conditions that set the stage for Trump and those that prompted the populist agenda of the Gracchi, as well as in their rhetorical appeals. Trump is no Caesar, but raises the specter of the possibility of a Caesar.

Bibliography

  1. Adams, John. 2017. A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. Online Library of Liberty. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/adams-the-works-of-john-adams-vol-4. Accessed 4 Aug.
  2. Bazelon, Emily. 2017. Ground Rules. The New York Times Magazine, July 16.Google Scholar
  3. Continetti, Matthew. 2017. Trump’s Brand Is Crisis. National Review, May 13. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447606/trumps-crises-endanger-republicans-policies-message
  4. Douthat, Ross. 2017. The Trumpiest Roman of Them All. New York Times, June 14. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/opinion/the-trumpiest-roman-of-them-all.html
  5. Fallows, James. 2015. Why Paralyzed Politics Are Making America More Unequal. The Atlantic, March 17. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/the-under-appreciated-connection-between-political-dysfunction-and-growing-inequality/388054/
  6. Ferrero, Guglielmo, and Corrado Barbagallo. 1918. A Short History of Rome: The Monarchy and the Republic. New York: Capricorn Books.Google Scholar
  7. Frank, Thomas. 2016. Donald Trump Is Moving to the White House, and Liberals Put Him There. The Guardian, November 9. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals
  8. Gilens, Martin. 2014. Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Greenberg, Jon. 2015. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: Trade Deals Closed 50,000 Factories. PunditFact, April 23. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/apr/23/ed-schultz/msnbcs-schultz-trade-deals-closed-50000-factories/
  10. Kotkin, Joel. 2014. The New Class Conflict. Candor: Telos Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lepore, Jill. 2015. Richer and Poorer. The New Yorker, March 16. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/16/richer-and-poorer
  12. Liebert, Hugh. 2016. Plutarch’s Politics: Between City and Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lind, Michael. 2017. The New Class War. American Affairs I (2 Summer): 19–44.Google Scholar
  14. Nolan, Peter. 2008. Capitalism and Freedom: The Contradictory Character of Globalisation. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
  15. Pew Research Center. 2017. The Changing Face of Congress in 5 Charts. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/02/the-changing-face-of-congress-in-5-charts/. Accessed 3 Aug.
  16. Plutarch. 2001. Plutarch’s Lives, Volumes I and II. New York: Modern Library.Google Scholar
  17. Polybius. 2011. The Histories III, Books 5–8. Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library.Google Scholar
  18. Rahn, Will. 2017. The Unbearable Smugness of the Press. CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/commentary-the-unbearable-smugness-of-the-press-presidential-election-2016/. Accessed 3 Aug.
  19. Reeb, Michael. 2017. I’m a Lifelong Democrat. Here Are 3 Reasons I Voted for Trump. The Daily Signal, January 3. http://dailysignal.com/2017/01/03/im-a-lifelong-democrat-here-are-3-reasons-i-pulled-the-lever-for-trump/.
  20. Rostovtzeff, Michael. 1927. A History of the Ancient World, Volume II: Rome. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Shiffman, Mark. 2017. Why Publius? In Promise and Peril: Republics and Republicanism in the History of Political Philosophy, ed. Will R. Jordan, 31–48. Macon: Mercer University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Silver, Nate. 2016. Education, Not Income, Predicted Who Would Vote for Trump. November 2. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/education-not-income-predicted-who-would-vote-for-trump/.
  23. USA Today. 2016. How We Voted—by Age, Education, Race and Sexual Orientation. November 9. http://college.usatoday.com/2016/11/09/how-we-voted-by-age-education-race-and-sexual-orientation/.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Shiffman
    • 1
  1. 1.Villanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

Personalised recommendations