Today is the anniversary of the birthday, in 106 B.C., of the great Roman orator Cicero. Cicero was well-known to many generations of Latin students for the text of his eloquent speech in favor of the natural law right to self-defense. In an article a few years ago in Chronicles, I looked at the political lessons which America's Founders drew from Cicero and other Romans. Among the conclusions: the Founders saw how Rome had degenerated from a Republic to a military dictatorship, and traced the degeneration to the moral decline of the Roman citizeny. One of the causes of the decline was the replacement of the militia by a professional standing army.
Happy Birthday, Cicero: