David and Goliath: Individualism and Liberty in the Italian Renaissance and the American Revolution

Date of Award


Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Allen

Second Advisor

Lauren Montgomery

Third Advisor

Matthew O’Leary


Throughout history, specific periods have been catalysts for significant innovations and ideas that have greatly influenced Western Civilization. The rediscovery of the Greco-Roman Classics during the Renaissance contributed to the intellectual, political and artistic ideals as well as the aspirations of virtu and the ambition of becoming a "Renaissance Man" (Wilcox 1975, Skinner 1978). The same principles of liberty and the promotion of individuals in the Renaissance were also driving forces behind the American Revolution almost two centuries later (Wood 1992). While much is written on both eras, historians have not made a strong correlation between the similar principles of the two periods. Through historical analysis, my research explores the importance of the symbiotic relationship of individualism and liberty in the Italian Renaissance and the American Revolution. In relating to the Biblical story of "David and Goliath," the city-state of Florence and the American colonies are connected through specific events, actions, and political circumstances. My research compares the similar philosophies, political discourses, and religious themes from Renaissance Italy and the American Colonies. Like David in the Bible, Florence--the once great cultural center of Europe--fell into decline and eventually lost its power. America, however, is still in a moment of time where it is possible to learn, and perhaps change, from these particular examples of history.