Kicking off what has been called an “exciting year” in celebration of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821, United States Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt took to national Greek television to not only share the American embassy’s plans, but also to remind the audience of the centuries-old bonds shared between the two nations.
Pyatt shared numerous accounts of American philhellenes (lovers of Greece and Greek culture) and their critical support of the Greek revolution during his interview with national broadcaster ERT.
“One of the things that really distinguishes the relationship between Greece and the United States is the very strong link between our two revolutions,” Pyatt said. “When our [American] founders rose up in 1776, they were explicitly inspired by Athenian democracy.”
Pyatt continued to cite numerous examples of Greece’s influence on American politics including the Founding Fathers’ reading of Greek texts and the architecture of government buildings and monuments Washington D.C.
He later mentioned the story of Samuel Gridley Howe, an American abolitionist inspired by Greece’s revolution who raised funds to provide medical relief, food supplies and other resources to support the Greek cause.
“American philhellenes who dropped everything came to Greece because they felt so passionately about supporting this revolution,” the ambassador said. “But what’s really interesting to me is how this became a topic of debate in the United States.”
An example of this debate was the story of Daniel Webster, a congressman who wrote letters and gave speeches on the House floor advocating for U.S. support of the Greek cause.
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