Americanus sum nec quidquam Americani a me alienum esse puto: i classici latini e la nuova identità statunitense in John Adams
This paper offers a brief overview of Cicero's influence on President John Adams' political thought and personality. Adams' letters and diary show different references to Cicero, a clear evidence of a process of deep assimilation and personal elaboration of the model. Cicero's influence can be seen also in Adams' writing style, especially in his political speeches and letters, which are modelled on Cicero's Familiares. As a young lawyer, Adams deeply appreciates Cicero's orations, because of the perfect use of the rhetorical techniques. As a political thinker, Adams considers the Roman res publica as an exemplum to be reproduced in the USA and he also supports the idea of natural law, a notion which descends from Cicero, through the modern philosophers' mediation. From Cicero's political works, Adams extracts the ideas of decor and honor, sort of key-words in his political and moral behaviour. Cicero and Adams shares also common life experiences: Adams too is a homo novus, the first in his family to attend college and to get involved in the political life of his Country. Like Cicero, he retires from political life and he confines himself in a literary otium: during the last years of his life, Adams studies philosophy and his last letters show his disappointment towards his political experience. While Adams considers Cicero's orations as a model in his youth, in his old age he prefers the philosophical works, especially the Cato, an excellent life companion.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Elena Tosi, "Americanus sum nec quidquam Americani a me alienum esse puto: i classici latini e la nuova identità statunitense in John Adams", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XVI (2014) 2, pp. 465-481
Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
XVI (2014) 2