history 101 essay

Second Essay. CHOOSE ONE!!!! Answer either question. Please limit your response to three (3) printed pages, double spaced.

Question A. Read the excerpt below and relate to what you have learned in class and in your reading assignments.

The report spread that a Greek of extraordinary talents had arrived, who could subdue all opposition beneath the spell of his eloquence, and who had so bewitched all the youth of the city that they seemed to have abandoned all their other pleasures and pursuits and to have run mad after philosophy. […] Most of the Romans were gratified by this, and were content to see their sons embrace Greek culture and frequent the company of such noble men. But Cato, from the moment that passion for discussion first showed itself in Rome, was deeply disturbed. He was afraid that the younger generation might allow their ambitions to be diverted in this direction, and might come to value most highly a reputation that was based upon feats of oratory rather than upon feats of arms.

Plutarch, The Life of Cato the Elder


Question B. Analyze this document and write a response. Be critical. Relate what you have read to what you have learned throughout the course, but especially what we have covered since the midterm. Do you see irony here?

Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a model to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. […] But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.

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