Politics in the Roman Republic

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The Roman Republic was founded when after the last Etruscan king was overthrown in B.

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Everyone else was considered plebeian , and no member of this group could hold office. Over a period of nearly years, however, the plebeians fought for and gained power within the government. At the heart of the Roman Republic was the Senate. It is believed that the Senate existed during the rule of the Etruscan kings.

Political Violence in the Roman Republic: From the Gracchi to the Death of Caesar

The Senate advised the kings on matters pertaining to rules governing the city and population. In the republic, members of the patrician class served as advisors to the other governing bodies of the republic.

Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic

This gave the plebeians a voice in the government. As a result, new legislative, or law-making bodies of the Roman Republic, were formed. Called assemblies, these legislative bodies shared power in the following way:. Leading the republic were two consuls who were elected by legislative assemblies. They served for one year, presided over the Roman Senate, and commanded the Roman military.

Though their power was somewhat limited by the establishment of other magistrate positions, the consuls were effectively the heads of state. The republic stood strong for several centuries. For example, in the 1st century B. Some citizens, such as the Gracchus brothers, attempted to institute government reforms and social reforms to help the poor.

Roman Republic

Ultimately, factions emerged loyal to either the patrician or plebeian classes or to a specific military general , hostilities erupted, and a series of civil wars plagued the republic. During these civil wars, a prominent general and statesmen named Julius Caesar began gaining significant power.

He commanded the loyalty of the soldiers in his army and enjoyed access to substantial wealth after conquering the province of Gaul. Caesar refused, instead marching his army south directly into Rome.

Scathing slander

As a result, another civil war erupted between Caesar and his chief political rival, Pompey. Caesar emerged victorious , and was named dictator for life. Other leaders within the republic feared Caesar would become a tyrant with this new title. To prevent this, a group of senators conspired and assassinated him.

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  • He then established himself as the first Roman emperor. The Roman Empire dramatically shifted power away from representative democracy to centralized imperial authority, with the emperor holding the most power. Furthermore, the emperor wielded significant authority over those who served in lower level executive positions. As a result of this redistribution of power, the popular assemblies that functioned during the republican period became less important and powerful. While the assembly became virtually ceremonial , the Senate survived.

    The powers given to the emperor still came from the Senate. Under the Imperial Roman emperors, Roman territory expanded farther, dominating most of the European continent, including Britain and major areas of modern-day Eastern Europe. This expansion, while bringing to Rome great wealth, power, and prestige, ultimately helped bring about its downfall. Added to this burden were increasing raids and attacks by foreign tribes and communities.

    The Roman Republic

    Emperors attempted to solve these problems through internal reforms. For example, the emperor Diocletian split control of the Roman Empire into two halves, a western and an eastern portion. He has published extensively on civic society, politics, and law in ancient Greece and the Roman Republic. Many of our ebooks are available through library electronic resources including these platforms:.


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    More about this book. One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for Chapter 1 [PDF]. The notes and bibliography alone are worth the price of the volume. His book represents a summary of the main scholarly questions aired over the last generation or so, as well as a plea for new directions and more dialogue.

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    Politics in the Roman Republic Politics in the Roman Republic
    Politics in the Roman Republic Politics in the Roman Republic
    Politics in the Roman Republic Politics in the Roman Republic
    Politics in the Roman Republic Politics in the Roman Republic
    Politics in the Roman Republic Politics in the Roman Republic

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