Cicero: A Sketch of His Life and Works

Cicero: A Sketch of His Life and Works

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Cicero: A Sketch of His Life and Works

Cicero: A Sketch of His Life and Works

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Excerpt

During the years devoted by the author to the preparation of The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, now in the eighth edition, there was ever present in his mind the hope that the day would come when he would be able to draw out, upon a different plan and within a narrower compass, The Origin and Growth of the Roman Constitution down to the end of the Republican Period closed by Cicero's death in December, 43 B. C.

An American historian, in speaking of Daniel Webster, has said:

Had he stood in the market place, raised an arm, and frozen into silence, his erect figure would have been accepted as the bronze ideal of a statesman and defender of the constitution.

In a much more emphatic and exclusive sense was Cicero the ideal defender of the Roman Constitution; in a much more emphatic and exclusive sense was he the embodiment of the departing spirit of Roman Republicanism. Certainly, during the last days of the Republic, during his duel to the death with Octavian and Antony, Cicero could say without exaggeration, L' état c' est moi! "Beneath every shell there was an animal, behind every document there was a man." And so behind Rome's Republican Constitution there was in its last days a man who, as the holder, in the cursus honorum, of every great office in the state, moved every part of its complicated machinery; who, by his immortal discourses . . .

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