In retirement, Thomas Jefferson advocated public education, which he viewed as a vehicle to democratize Virginia by creating smaller units of administration around the local school that would create experience with direct democracy like the town hall meetings of New England.   Related to his passion:

[Jefferson] said that as Cato ended every speech with the exhortation “Carthago delenda est,” he would end every opinion with the injunction “Divide the counties into wards.”

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 249.]

Definition from Wikipedia:

Carthago delenda est (English: “Carthage must be destroyed”) or the fuller Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam or also Ceterum autem censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam (English: “Furthermore, I think Carthage must be destroyed”) are Latin phrases, clarion calls in the Roman Republic which came in the latter years of the Punic Wars.

Although no ancient source gives the phrase exactly as it is usually quoted in modern times (either Carthago delenda est or the fuller Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam), something like this wording can be inferred from several ancient sources, which state that the Roman statesman Cato the Elder would always end his speeches with some variation of this expression even if he had not been discussing Carthage in the speech.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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