Τρίτη, 1 Νοεμβρίου 2011

George Washington by James Russell Lowell


Portrait by Charles Wilson Peale, c. 1772.
Washington-Custis-Lee Collection 
(at Washington and Lee University) 
in Lexington, Virginia.
Image, Library of Congress.
Soldier and statesman, rarest unison;
High-poised example of great duties done
Simply as breathing, a world's honors worn
As life's indifferent gifts to all men born;
Dumb for himself, unless it were to God,
But for his barefoot soldiers eloquent,
Tramping the snow to coral where they trod,
Held by his awe in hollow-eyed content;
Modest, yet firm as Nature's self; unblamed
Save by the men his nobler temper shamed;
Never seduced through show of present good
By other than unsetting lights to steer
New-trimmed in Heaven, nor than his steadfast mood
More steadfast, far from rashness as from fear,
Rigid, but with himself first, grasping still
In swerveless poise the wave-beat helm of will;
Not honored then or now because he wooed
The popular voice, but that he still withstood;
Broad-minded, higher-souled, there is but one
Who was all this and ours, and all men's - Washington 
George Washington
by James Russell Lowell

George Washington


George Washington (February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731] – December 14, 1799) was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787. The unanimous choice to serve as the first President of the United States (1789–1797), Washington presided over the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that stayed neutral in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion and won acceptance among Americans of all types. His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used ever since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Washington is universally regarded as the "Father of his Country".
Washington was born into the provincial gentry of a wealthy, well connected Colonial Virginia family who owned tobacco plantations. After his father and older brother both died young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful Fairfax family, who promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer of the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War. Chosen by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, he managed to force the British out of Boston in 1776, but was defeated and nearly captured later that year when he lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter, he defeated the enemy in two battles, retook New Jersey, and restored momentum to the Patriot cause. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Historians give Washington high marks for: his selection and supervision of his generals; his encouragement of morale and ability to hold together the army; his coordination with the state governors and state militia units; his relations with Congress; and, his attention to supplies, logistics, and training. In battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals with larger armies. After victory had been finalized in 1783, Washington resigned rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to the emerging American political ideology of republicanism. He returned to his home, Mount Vernon, and his domestic life there, continuing to manage a variety of enterprises. Washington's final 1799 will specified all his slaves be set free.
Dissatisfied with the weaknesses of Articles of Confederation, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787. Elected as the first President of the United States in 1789, he attempted to bring rival factions together to unify the nation. He supported Alexander Hamilton's programs to pay off all state and national debt, to implement an effective tax system and to create a national bank (despite opposition from Thomas Jefferson). Washington proclaimed the U.S. neutral in the wars raging in Europe after 1793. He avoided war with Great Britain and guaranteed a decade of peace and profitable trade by securing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs. Washington's "Farewell Address" was an influential primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars.
Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism. At his death, Washington was hailed as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". The Federalists made him the symbol of their party but for many years the Jeffersonians continued to distrust his influence and delayed building the Washington Monument. As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history, Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism, especially in France and Latin America. He is consistently ranked among the top three presidents of the United States according to polls of both scholars and the general public.

Cleisthenes

Cleisthenes (Greek: Κλεισθένης, also Clisthenes or Kleisthenes) was a noble Athenian of the Alcmaeonid family. He is credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing in 508/7 BC. For these accomplishments, historians refer to him as "the father of Athenian democracy." Also, he was credited for increasing power of assembly and he also broke up power of nobility for Athens. Cleisthenes called these reforms isonomia ("equality vis à vis law", iso=equality; nomos=law), instead of demokratia. In order to forestall strife between the traditional clans, which had led to the tyranny in the first place, he changed the political organization from the four traditional tribes, which were based on family relations, into ten tribes according to their area of residence (their deme). Most modern historians suppose there were 139 demes (this is still a matter of debate), organized into thirty groups called trittyes ("thirds"), with ten demes divided among three regions in each trittyes (a city region, asty; a coastal region, paralia; and an inland region, mesogeia). Cleisthenes also abolished patronymics in favour of demonymics (a name given according to the deme to which one belongs), thus increasing Athenians' sense of belonging to a deme. He also established legislative bodies run by individuals chosen by lottery, a true test of real democracy, rather than kinship or heredity. He reorganized the Boule, created with 400 members under Solon, so that it had 500 members, 50 from each tribe. He also introduced the bouletic oath, "To advise according to the laws what was best for the people". The court system (Dikasteria — law courts) was reorganized and had from 201–5001 jurors selected each day, up to 500 from each tribe. It was the role of the Boule to propose laws to the assembly of voters, who convened in Athens around forty times a year for this purpose. The bills proposed could be rejected, passed or returned for amendments by the assembly.
Cleisthenes was the uncle of Pericles' mother Agariste and of Alcibiades' maternal grandfather Megacles.

Pericles


Pericles (Greek: Περικλῆς, Periklēs, "surrounded by glory"; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically influential Alcmaeonid family.
Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.
Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This project beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Furthermore, Pericles fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics call him a populist.

Solon


Solon (ancient Greek: Σόλων, c. 638 BC – 558 BC) was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet he is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy.
Knowledge of Solon is limited by the lack of documentary and archeological evidence covering Athens in the early 6th century BC.
 He wrote poetry for pleasure, as patriotic propaganda, and in defence of his constitutional reforms. His works only survive in fragments. They appear to feature interpolations by later authors and it is possible that fragments have been wrongly attributed to him (see Solon the reformer and poet). Ancient authors such as Herodotus and Plutarch are the main source of information, yet they wrote about Solon hundreds of years after his death, at a time when history was by no means an academic discipline. Fourth century orators, such as Aeschines, tended to attribute to Solon all the laws of their own, much later times. Archaeology reveals glimpses of Solon's period in the form of fragmentary inscriptions but little else. For some scholars, our 'knowledge' of Solon and his times is largely a fictive construct based on insufficient evidence while others believe a substantial body of real knowledge is still attainable. Solon and his times can appear particularly interesting to students of history as a test of the limits and nature of historical argument. (wiki)

Athenian democracy


Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 508 BC. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model, none were as powerful, stable, nor as well-documented as that of Athens. It remains a unique and intriguing experiment in direct democracy where the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right. Participation was by no means open, but the in-group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a scale that was truly phenomenal. The public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theatres.
Solon (594 BC), Cleisthenes (508/7 BC), and Ephialtes (462 BC) all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Historians differ on which of them was responsible for which institution, and which of them most represented a truly democratic movement. It is most usual to date Athenian democracy from Cleisthenes, since Solon's constitution fell and was replaced by the tyranny of Peisistratus, whereas Ephialtes revised Cleisthenes' constitution relatively peacefully. Hipparchus, brother of the tyrant Hippias, was killed by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who were subsequently honored by the Athenians for their alleged restoration of Athenian freedom.
The greatest and longest lasting democratic leader was Pericles; after his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolution towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts are of this fourth-century modification rather than the Periclean system. (wiki)

Presidential Proclamation--Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy


The White House
Office of the Press Secretary - March 24, 2011


A PROCLAMATION
One hundred ninety years ago, Greece regained its independence and became a symbol of democracy for the world for the second time in history. As America recognizes this milestone in the birthplace of democracy, we also celebrate our warm friendship with Greece and the lasting legacy of Hellenic culture in our own country.
America's Founders drew upon the core democratic principles developed in ancient Greece as they imagined a new government. Since that time, our Union has strived to uphold the belief that each person has a fundamental right to liberty and participation in the democratic process, and Greece has continued to promote those very principles. Over the centuries these cherished ideals -- democracy, equality, and freedom -- have inspired our citizens and the world.
The relationship between the United States and Greece extends beyond our common values and is strengthened by the profound influence of Greek culture on our national life. From the architecture of our historic buildings to the lessons in philosophy and literature passed on in our classrooms, America has drawn on the deep intellectual traditions of the Greeks in our own establishment and growth as a nation. Reinforcing the steadfast bonds between our two countries, Americans of Greek descent have maintained the best of their heritage and immeasurably enriched our national character.
The American people stand with Greece to honor the legacy of democracy wrought over 2,000 years ago and its restoration to the Hellenic Republic nearly 200 years ago. As we celebrate the history and values of Greece and the United States, we also look forward to our shared future and recommit to continuing our work as friends and allies.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2011, as "Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy." I call upon all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
      BARACK OBAMA

UNDERGROUND BY BARACK OBAMA SET TO MUSIC BY KAROUSOS


Karousos concert in Canada featuring Barack Obama's poem Underground


Karousos, 6-5-2011, Montreal Canada

Claudette Denys, Veronica Navarro, Panayoti Karousos
Claudette Denys, Veronica Navarro, Panayoti Karousos
Canadian classical music composer Panayoti Karousos presented a concert in Montreal featuring a song on the lyrics of President Barack Obama's poem: Underground.


Also at the program the song The Maid of Athens after the poem of Lord Byron.


Panayoti Karousos music was very melodic and please the audience.


Veronica Navarro, mezzo-soprano performed the songs with sensibility accompanied by acclaimed pianist Claudette Denys.

Underground by President Barack Obama at Concordia University


Panayoti Karousos selected works in Loyola Campus Chapel

Program

Divertimento for Cello and Piano
Four selected songs:
Underground by President Barack Obama
Maid of Athens by Lord Byron
Automne by Guillaume Apollinaire
Written on a Wall at Woodstock by Queen Elizabeth I

Soloists
Johanne Patry, mezzo-soprano
David Bouchard, violoncello
Claudette Denys, piano

Video camera by Jean-Guy St Laurent, videographer

Promotional links /
Karousos

Panayoti Karousos set to music the poem Underground of President Barack Obama

Canada. Patrides Newspaper. May, 2011
A new song of classical music honored the United States of America President Barack Obama in Canada.
Panayoti Karousos and Jerry Sklavounos
Panayoti Karousos presented his new works at Concordia University Loyola Campus Chapel the 12 May 2011, featuring a song on the poem "Underground" of the President of the United States of America Barack Obama. Among Obama's song Karousos presented a Divertimento for Cello and Piano and the songs on the poems of Queen Elizabeth I (Written on a Wall at Woodstock), Apollinaire (Automne), and Lord Byron (Maid of Athens). The music was very lyrical and intellectual. Composer Panayoti Karousos, pianist Claudette Denys, mezzo-soprano Johanne Patry and cellist David Bouchard did an excellent work.    
Claudette Denys, Panayoti Karousos, Johanne Patry 
and David Bouchard 
For the occasion Panayoti Karousos was honored by Quebec Government with a Certificate of Honor by Deputy Jerry Sklavounos. Panayoti Karousos added Barack Obama's poem to his compositions for the obscure and exotic atmosphere of the lyrics.