Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Classical Studies

Reader 1

Benjamin Keim

Reader 2

Jody Valentine

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© 2017 Alexandra S. Wattis


This study will explore the similarities and differences between Alcibiades and Nicias’ speeches to the Athenian Assembly in 415 BC and Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Donald J. Trump’s first presidential debate in 2016. The ancient speeches were regarding the Sicilian Expedition, while the modern speeches focused on each candidates’ foreign policy plan regarding Syria and the Islamic State (IS). Despite the near 2,500-year difference between these two democracies, there are striking similarities between the ways their governments are structured as well as the values they uphold. I explore the significance of the fact that the Athenians and the modern-day Americans have two ostensibly functioning democracies yet the candidates whom they elected and the subsequent results were disadvantageous for the long-term sustainability of their countries. I will look at the differences between the expectations of the democratic institutions and what the outcomes of the debates were. Additionally, I compare the differences between the Athenian democracy and the American democracy.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.