TITLE

“A Mirror of the Times”: The Catilinarian Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century British and American Political Thought

AUTHOR(S)
Hardy, Rob
PUB. DATE
January 2008
SOURCE
International Journal of the Classical Tradition;Winter2008, Vol. 14 Issue 3/4, p431
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In the eighteenth century, the Catilinarian conspiracy, as portrayed by Sallust and Cicero, provided a cautionary tale for British and American political writers, both Whig and Tory, about the destabilizing nature of debt and the dangers of radical democracy. In the wake of the South Sea Bubble crisis of the early 1720s, writers like Thomas Gordon used the conspiracy to expose the dangers of political demagoguery and the precarious luxury that accompanied expanded credit. During the American Revolutionary period, Tories and Federalists branded as “Catilines” those who, like Daniel Shays, mobilized the forces of radical democracy with the promise of debt relief. Throughout the eighteenth century, Catiline represented the danger to a mixed constitution of demagogues who attempted to rally the democratic element in society against the privileges of the patrician class.
ACCESSION #
35038923

 

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