It is about the similarities between ancient greek philosophies of governing and the present day U.S. way of governing and approaches to certain issues.
also, the literature that was read was "The funeral speech of Pericles"
The Crimes of Democracy
When you examine "The Funeral Speech of Pericles", and the manner in which the Athenian democracy is discussed, it is impossible not to imagine the many possible similarities between ancient Athens and present-day United States. Both governments claimed freedom for all, yet women could not vote and both held slaves for many years. How many American presidents have had slaves? To think that the Declaration of Independence and the ideals that it represents are adhered to today in the daily meetings of Washington would be foolish. (The ideals set forth in The Declaration were not even recognized when it was written.) And to think that any society with extraordinary influence, technology, or positioning will not take advantage of their situation to increase whatever they feel is needed is also very foolish.
Political leaders and persons in power have a habit of not practicing what they preach. So with any highly organized government or society there will always be secrets, scandals, untruths, deceptions, and injustice. Why?
Just look at history! Vietnam, the Iran-Contra scandal, Nixon, Chandra Levy, Whitewater, South Africa, the assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and this is only 40 years of U.S. history and I left out a lot! The bottom line is that in ancient Athens, (as well as in the U.S. today and many other governments) the name of the game was to extend the influence and reach of their power.
"The magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbor, so that to the Athenian the fruits...