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How are we to understand Cato the Younger? To be sure, this question implies that there is something important we can learn by studying the life of Cato the Younger, that we can garner fundamental political insights by understanding his actions and thoughts. Although this essay will be a modest attempt to articulate some of these insights by presenting a paradigm with which Cato's life can be understood, the very fact that Cato commands the attention of a diverse number of diplomats, philosophers and poets should make us as political scientists and historians at least somewhat interested in his life as a whole.