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  • Italy's Four Great Empires
    Part 5 of 5: The New World
    Continued from part 4

    by Joe Diorio

    The New World! As mentioned earlier, four great Italian navigators changed the world forever. Columbus discovered America for the Spanish, Caboto colonized it for the English and Verrazzano would chart it for everybody. The new world would also be named after another Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci. Italians not only found America, they helped build the new world while saturating our young government with Roman influence. Our forefathers copied Rome in developing a government that would bring peace and prosperity to her citizens. Thomas Jefferson, who read Latin and Italian, revered Italy and Rome. His closest friend and neighbor on his Monticello farm was Filippo Mazzei. This political thinker and writer taught Jefferson exiting forms of government. His writings were so influential to Jefferson that the phrase "all men are created equal" in our Declaration of Independence may have come from Mazzei's "All men are from nature free and independent". Our historians have written on how Jefferson read all of Mazzei's papers on political theory. Cesare Beccaria, an Italian philosopher from eighteenth century Milan was also very instrumental in the way our forefathers structured this new country. His most important work titled, "Crimes & Punishment", was read by both Jefferson and Quincy Adams. Adams had copies written in Italian and in English. It was Beccaria who labored over the theory of the separation between church and state, a philosophy that our forefathers felt very strongly about due to the tyranny of the Queen of England. Our new capital in Washington D.C. was being built by Italian builders and the resemblance to Roman architecture was no accident. Constantino Brumidi brought his creative genius to Washington by painting all the frescos in the White House's Rotunda and would forever be known as the, "Michelangelo of the White House". The forefathers were also incorporating Roman law and democracy into our system. Senators would soon be arguing on Capital Hill for the good of the people and the Roman Eagle, now America's symbol would proudly adorn our government's structures. Remember, Italian influence in America does not end with Columbus; it only begins with that courageous man. The music, food and cultural ideas brought here by the Italians are certainly part of the fabric of this nation. We trusted our forefathers to know what they were doing and they trusted the Italians to teach them. Done by design, men like Jefferson, Adams and other early Americans made no error in their judgment. The brilliance they relied upon was to come out of Italy and this was their intention from the start. Now the new leaders of the Western world, America would become the new Rome.

    These four empires came from the hearts and minds of Italian genius and no other nation can claim such enormous contributions to the world. I'm proud to be one of her sons. In the beginning of this article I wrote that one of the strongest characteristics of man is to co-exist and be accepted by others. Being able to feel camaraderie with other Italians is like a blanket to me. America is my home yet, I feel equally close to my Italian beginnings and the land my grandparents came from. In the final analyses, no one would disagree; Italians have drawn the blueprints and built four great empires. Now I have come to fully understand the phrase, "We came, we saw, we conquered".

    Part 1: Introduction
    Part 2: The Roman Empire
    Part 3: Christianity
    Part 4: The Renaissance
    Part 5: The New World


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