Power, in whatever hands, is rarely content with its present boundaries. — Sallust, The Jugurthine War
The United States, often seen as a beacon of democracy and republicanism, draws its inspiration from a rich tapestry of historical influences. Among these influences, the writings of the Roman historian Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus) have played a significant role in shaping the American understanding of virtue, governance, and the fragility of republics. Sallust’s works, particularly his monographs The Conspiracy of Catiline and The Jugurthine War, have resonated with American political thinkers and leaders throughout the nation’s history. In this article, I’ll share with you the enduring influence of Sallust’s writings on the United States, and as a corollary of this influence, you’ll come to see why Sallust is never taught in public schools anymore.
Sallust: The Man and His Works
Gaius Sallustius Crispus, known as Sallust, was a Roman historian and politician who lived during the late Roman Republic, from 86 B.C. to 35 B.C. His career in politics, characterized by controversy and conflict, came to a halt when he was expelled from the Senate in 50 B.C. However, it was his subsequent career as a…