Historical Day Celebration: Citizens vs. Soldiers

Philodemicians and guests gathered in the Philodemic Room to explore interesting aspects of Philodemic History. The event began with a reenactment of the second debate held by the Society, Resolved: Whether the Citizen or Soldier is the more useful member of a Republic. Mr. Nick RisCassi argued on the side of the Citizen, and Alex Zajac (COL ’15) argued in favor of the Soldier. Mr. Zajac opened the discussion by giving the compelling example of Sparta and claiming that a nation of solely soldiers can exist, while a nation of solely citizens cannot. Mr. RisCassi responded in his impromptu keynote by citing Costa Rica and Japan as examples of societies without true militaries.

The audience strongly favored the Citizen, as Mr. RisCassi even ended up humorously speaking against his own side to fill a silence on the side of the Soldier. To close, Mr. Zajac quoted that most educational of bands, The Killers, by saying “I got soul but I’m not a soldier.” Even so, all but 3 voted in favor of the Citizen. This followed the original decision, as the Society from 1830 also decided that the Citizen was more useful. After the informal debate had ended, President Peter Prindiville displayed the Hamilton and Merrick medals to anyone interested in viewing them up close. Librarian Emeritus Joshua Donovan and Librarian Michelle Dailey then joined President Prindiville to spread the wisdom of Philodemic trivia. Finally, those present gathered together to toast the Philodemic Society, George Washington, and Poland’s Liberty (most likely referencing an uprising from 1830), using historic toasts gathered from documents from the Philodemic Society’s first Anniversary Celebration in 1832.


Chloe J. Krawczyk

Historical Day Celebration, February 2013

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