chevalier de Chastellux

Portrait by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1782

QUICK FACTS
BORN:
1734 in Paris, France
  DIED:
28 October 1788 in Paris, France

AUTHOR OF
  • Voyages de M. le Marquis de Chastellux dans l'Amérique septentrionale, dans les années 1780, 1781 et 1782, (Travels in North America; 2 volumes), 1788
LINKS
CONTENTS

     

Francois-Jean Beauvoir. Portrait to come. See entry in Wikipedia.

For all their artistic and philosophical brilliance, the Greeks were failures at politics; Hamilton, in the Federalist, expressed horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were agitated. The Romans captured the American imagination because they had done what the Americans themselves hoped to do — sustain an extensive republic over a course of centuries. So the society of Revolutionary War officers called themselves Cincinnati; president, congress, and senate were all Roman terms. But the Roman example was also cautionary, for when they lost their virture, they slid into empire. When Franklin said, in response to a question from Eliza Powel, that the constitutional convention had produced a republic, if you can keep it, he and she would have remembered that the Romans had failed to keep theirs.

Richard Brookhiser
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (1996)