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The Romans Essay

722 words - 3 pages

The Romans established a form of government, a republic, that was copied by countries for centuries. It all began when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan conquerors in 509 B.C.E. Once free, the Romans established a republic, a government in which citizens elected representatives to rule on their behalf. Every citizen is expected to play an active role in governing the state.
The Roman concept of the citizen evolved during the Roman Republic and changed significantly during the later Roman Empire. After the Romans freed themselves from the Etruscans, they established a republic, and all males over 15 who were descended from the original tribes of Rome became citizens. Citizens of Rome ...view middle of the document...

Tradition dictated the patricians and plebeians should be strictly separated; marriage between the two classes was even prohibited. Over time, the plebeians elected their own representative, called tribunes, who gained the power to veto measures passed by the senate.
Gradually, the plebeians obtained even more power and eventually could hold the position of consul. Despite these changes, though, the patricians were still able to use their wealth to buy control and influence over elected leaders.
Occasionally, an emergency situation (such as a war) arose that required the decisive leadership of one individual. Under these circumstances, the Senate and the consuls could appoint a temporary dictator to rule for a limited time until the crisis was resolved. The position of dictator was very undemocratic in nature. Indeed, a dictator had all the power, made decisions without any approval, and had full control over the military.
The best example of an ideal dictator was a Roman citizen named Cincinnatus. During a severe military emergency, the Roman Senate called Cincinnatus from his farm to serve as dictator and to lead the Roman army. When Cincinnatus stepped down from the dictatorship and returned to his farm only 15 days...

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