Ancient Greece and American Conservatism : Classical Influence on the Modern Right
Author(s): John Bloxham
US conservatives have repeatedly turned to classical Greece for inspiration and rhetorical power. In the 1950s they used Plato to defend moral absolutism; in the 1960s it was Aristotle as a means to develop a uniquely conservative social science; and then Thucydides helped to justify a more assertive foreign policy in the 1990s.
By tracing this phenomenon and analysing these, and various other, examples of selectivity, subversion and adaptation within their broader social and political contexts, John Bloxham here employs classical thought as a prism through which to explore competing strands in American conservatism. From the early years of the Cold War to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bloxham illuminates the depth of conservatives' engagement with Greece, the singular flexibility of Greek ideas and the varied and diverse ways that Greek thought has reinforced and invigorated conservatism. This innovative work of reception studies offers a richer understanding of the American Right and is important reading for classicists, modern US historians and political scientists alike.
“It is refreshing to read a balanced discussion of American political ideologies. John Bloxham's Ancient Greece and American Conservatism: Classical Influence on the Modern Right is an admirable example of scholarly detachment and penetrating analysis … One of the most important contributions of Bloxham's monograph is to illuminate the diversity of conservative approaches to ancient and modern history … By combining classical reception studies, the classical tradition, and intellectual history, Bloxham clearly illustrates the dynamic nature of classical texts and many of the underlying theories of American conservative authors. Without a doubt, this book is a valuable contribution to the study of Classics and History and serves as a model for sound and well-reasoned scholarship.” —The Classical Journal