Dr. Wood speaks at Roanoke with Advice from Egypt

Noah Glover


On September 16, Gordon Wood came to Roanoke College to give a talk on advice America can give the new Egyptian government. The talk began with an explanation of the Arab Spring beginning in 2012. The first country to fall to this was Tunisia, followed by Egypt. Then, in the spring of 2013, about 30 Egyptian diplomats came to the U.S. Many of these diplomats were politicians, high ranking military officials, and college students. Many of these students had active roles in the revolution in Egypt.

Then, Dr. Wood’s lecture delved back to 1776 when the U.S. declared independence from Great Britain. When the U.S. won their independence, they searched for a new form of government to surpass that of Great Britain. For four years, the U.S. was ruled under The Articles of Confederation. This was a terrible doctrine and loosely joined the United States together, almost as though they were 13 independent countries. The Articles of Confederation did not grant the power to tax or have a common currency; there was no executive, so in 1787, there had to be change. Dr. Wood then brought a book in front of the audience, which was written by James Madison. In this book, Madison describes the injustices in the colonies post-revolution. He describes the states as separate countries, and suggests that few states were feuding to the point of war.

Then, the lecture shifted to address the ideological problems of democracy. The great philosopher and teacher, Aristotle, said that, “Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers”. So, pure democracy doesn’t work and the Founding Fathers knew this piece of information. Then, this question was proposed: how does the government hear the voice of the people without the pure chaos of democracy? Then, a miracle happened and the Founding Fathers said we will have elected officials represent the people. The rest is history.

In conclusion, Dr. Wood said that Egypt doesn’t need a pure democracy because that will lead to chaos and then a ruling militant group will take back over. Instead, they should shift toward an American model of government.