- Cole, TJ. "Ciceronian thought at the Constitutional Convention." Global Intellectual History (January, 2019). [doi]
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Although Cicero was the most revered and read classical figure in colonial America, his influence on the political thought of that era, specifically its most defining moment–the Constitutional Convention–has been underappreciated. But due to insights that recent scholarship on Cicero has provided, it is possible discern elements of uniquely Ciceronian strains of political thought alongside the more well-established Polybian ones in the debates at the Convention. This paper will argue that presence of Ciceronian constitutional thought at the Convention can be traced back to the founders’ early education as well as continued reading habits, of which Cicero's De Re Publica played a vital role. By proposing Ciceronian solutions to political issues, the founders advocated a unique form of republicanism which depended on the elites’ virtue, understood as their political wisdom, and the primacy of the elite-controlled Senate. Through virtue and the Senate so composed, the founders believed that they might harmonise differing class interests and establish a stable federal government.