[2015] Nik Hal (Period 3): Government of the Roman Republic

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by dotesta
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Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
Ancient History
Grade:
6

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[2015] Nik Hal (Period 3): Government of the Roman Republic

When it was first founded, Rome was ruled by kings. However, in 509 BC last king of Rome was overthrown, and a new government was created. This government was a republic with elected officials who ran the city of Rome. At first, only the city's nobles, the patricians, could hold office. However, common people, plebeians, eventually demmanded that they be allowed to take part in the government, and so new offices were created to give the plebeians more power. The government was designed in a way that ensured that no individual was too powerful. However, in an emergency, a dictator who had complete power could be elected for a short period.Above: A picture showing the power of different officials in the government of the Roman Republic.Image From: www.pinterest.com

Government Of The Roman Republic

The Roman Republic had a tripartite government, meaning the government was made up of three main branches. The first branch was the magistrates, elected officials who served for one year terms. Most magistrates were patricians, but plebeians were eventually allowed to become magistrates, too. Each magistrate had a different job to do to help run the city. The two most powerful magistrates were the consuls, who had power over all citizens and led the republic's government and army. However, the consuls couldn't do whatever they wanted, and a consul's action could be blocked by other government officials.Above: A staue of Julius Caesar, who served as a consul before he dissolved the Roman Republic.Image From: feelgrafix.com

The second branch of the Roman government was the Senate. The Senate was a council of wealthy citizens originally created to advise Rome's kings. After the republic was created, the Senate became more powerful. It elected and advised the consuls, passed laws, and eventually was in charge of all of Rome's finances. Like the magistrates, at first, only patricians could be senators, but eventually, plebeians were also allowed to become senators. Unlike the magistrates however, senators served their entire lives. Senators would meet in the Curia building in the Forum, a public meeting place in the very center of Rome. When a senator died, a magistrate took his place and became a senator. Because of this, many magistrates were afraid of angering senators.Above: The Roman Curia, or senate house.Image From: en.wikipedia.org

The third branch of the Roman government was divided into two parts: The assemblies and the tribunes. All adult male citizens were allowed to participate in assemblies, and this was the only part of the government originally created for both plebeians and patricians. Although the assemblies' primary job was to elect magistrates, they could also be held to ratify laws, declare war, and vote on other important matters.Above: A painting of an assembly taking place in ancient Rome.Image From: en.wikipedia.org

The second part of the government's third branch, the tribunes, was the only part of the government with offices that could only be held by plebeians. The tribunes, like the magistrates, were elected for one year each. Tribunes had the power to veto, or prohibit, the actions of any of the magistrates, including the consuls, giving them a lot of power. For this reason, they were elected for short terms to prevent them from abusing their power. These methods used by the Romans of ensuring that no branch or individual in a government is too powerful are called checks and balances, which are still used in modern governments.Above: U.S. president Barack Obama vetoing a bill. The idea of the veto came from the Romans but is still used in governments today.Image From: libertynews.com

References:1.Burstein, Stanley Mayer, and Richard Hon-Chun Shek. World History: Ancient Civilizations Through the Renaissance. Orlando: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.2. "The Roman Republic." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, 2014. Web. 25 May 2015. .3. "Julius Caesar." PBS. Devillier Donegan Enterprises, 2006. Web. 25 May 2015..

The Forum was a public area in the very center of Rome. It lay between two hills: The Capitoline, where the most important religious temples were, and the Palatine, where the city’s richest people lived. It held the Curia, where the Senate met, and was a place people could go to talk, shop, or deliver speeches. The Forum also was the place where the Law of the Twelve Tables, Rome’s first set of written laws, was displayed.Above: The Roman Forum today.Image From: jamesb.com


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