Does “the will of the people” exist? How could any community of divided views and changing minds ever have a single will? And where did we get the idea that self-government could only happen through elections and ruling elites?
The answer emerges in the story of a young orator from the Italian countryside who rose to the heights of power as his republic fell apart. Cicero and the People’s Will is an adventure story of ideas, centered on the creative genius of Rome’s greatest orator and most underappreciated thinker, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Surviving plots, exile, and the rise of Julius Caesar, Cicero fuses Roman tradition with Greek philosophy, establishing an idea–popular sovereignty through an elected elite–that failed in his time but has shaped the modern world.
About the speaker:
Dr. Lex Paulson is Executive Director of the UM6P School of Collective Intelligence (Morocco) and lectures in advocacy at Sciences Po-Paris. Trained in classics and community organizing, he served as mobilization strategist for the campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008 and Emmanuel Macron in 2017. He served as legislative counsel in the 111th U.S. Congress (2009-2011), organized on six U.S. presidential campaigns, and has worked to advance democratic innovation at the European Commission and in India, Tunisia, Egypt, Uganda, Senegal, Czech Republic and Ukraine. He is author of Cicero and the People’s Will: Philosophy and Power at the End of the Roman Republic, from Cambridge University Press, and is co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Collective Intelligence for Democracy and Governance.
Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Paulson will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.
This event requires advance registration.
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