The Ancients and the Founders
Common Sense Society (CSS) is an international network that promotes liberty, prosperity, and beauty—educating 21st-century generations and perpetuating timeless principles that are indispensable to human flourishing and happiness. Through our curricular resources, we’re illuminating the enduring ideas that have transformed the course of human history for the better.
Our curricular resources consist of a growing number of modules that support middle and high school educators in exploring the value of Western civilization through a comparative examination of the histories and principles of the United States’ systems of liberty and their totalitarian counterparts.
Each module contains a selection of primary resources, student assignments, and classroom activities designed to enable students to examine the nature and preconditions of liberty, prosperity, beauty, and the pursuit of happiness; to consider how and to what extent these principles have been implemented in the course of history; and to compare and contrast this history of implementation with that of putative alternatives past, present, and future.
The Ancients and the Founders considers whether the U.S. Constitution overcomes the problems found in ancient governments and asks, “are there problems endemic to every democratic society that are impossible to eradicate?”
Before the American Founders took the first steps in establishing a democratic form of government, they studied the successes and challenges of ancient democracies. In this module, students will look at primary source documents from ancient Greece and Rome, as well as from the founding.
After studying ancient democracies, students will turn to the Founders’ task: how to build a democratic form of government that would incorporate democracy’s successful and laudable features while overcoming its challenges. Finally, students will consider whether the Founders’ solutions, as outlined in the Constitution and the Federalist, have succeeded in this task.
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