Fall of the Roman Republic Joshua Williamson Professor Waalkes World Civilization I 19 March 2009 Williamson 1 A system where political officials were elected and advised by a wealthy aristocratic senate once prevailed in Rome. This system was known as the Republic of Rome (T&E 262).
This passage will consist of information and contrasts made between the republic that once existed in Rome and information in the source passage, Tacitus on Corruption in the Early Roman Empire.Tacitus on Corruption in the Early Roman Empire refers to the dictatorship of Caesar Augustus (63 BC-14 AD) by aristocratic historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-120 AD) and their impact on the people and economy of Rome. The Roman Republic got its start when the last Etruscan king was abolished along with the monarchy in 509 B. C. (T&E 262).
Although most of the republic was controlled by rich, aristocratic leaders, Rome still prospered from it, rather than the monarchy.That includes both wealthy nobles, and commoners alike, but in the republic they had other social labels. The patricians, or wealthy aristocrats, were the individuals who elected the consuls. The plebeians, or common people, made up more of the population, but still didn’t make up as much of the senate as the patricians, and this caused social conflict. The senate consisted of aristocrats that had a vast knowledge of politics. The senate made most of the crucial decisions with acknowledgement over the consuls (T&E 262).
The Roman Constitution was written documentation of military and civil power given to two consuls that would serve one year terms. The Roman Constitution also entrusted a single individual to lead Rome as a dictator for six months when there was military tensions. Dictatorship will later be the downfall of the Rome. Even though there was still social conflict as mentioned earlier, the republic was still highly favored because it showed great public virtue (Waalkes’ Lecture), which is believed to be the reason it successfully expanded.Williamson 2 The expansion of the Roman Republic gave way to new trade.
Even though Rome had military colonies throughout the lands they conquered, they were still very tolerant of other peoples’ cultures. Rome allowed conquered peoples freedom of religion and beliefs, and sometimes exemptions from taxation (T&E 264). The expansion of the republic also led to new warfare. The Punic wars began when conflict arose between Rome and Carthage (T&E 264). All of these problems gave rise to internal issues within Rome.
There was extraordinary wealth and power being brought in by the expansion, along with unequal distribution of it. Not long afterwards, the political leaders abandoned the republican constitution and made a central form of government on Rome and its empire. It was mainly the events of the Gracchi brothers that expressed the matter that the Republican constitution wasn’t fit for a large, growing empire. From there, Rome had a fair share of dictators ranging from Julius Caesar to his nephew Octavion (better known as Caesar Augustus), then on to Augustus’ son, Tiberius (T&E 266-267).
As Tacitus has made apparent, Augustus had pretty much pushed ahead by expressing his so-called gift of peace and other economical offerings. This went on until he finally controlled the functions of the senate, the officials, and then the law. Finally old age crept upon Caesar Augustus and his blessings of peace began question and doubt. Soon after, Augustus passed away, putting Tiberius in control. Many had high hopes of change after Augustus’ death, with thoughts of the return of the republic.Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and emperors circulated rule over Rome all the way up to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (Tacitus on Corruption in the Early Roman Empire).
Williamson 3 Despite the fact that power was unevenly distributed during the reign of the Roman Republic, it still remained that it pertained to everyone’s value and interest at heart. Every nation time and time again has had their disagreements. The ways of the Roman Republic has left a mark in history as being a fair and peaceful system at an early age in history, which is a very rare quality to find in other nations that date back that far.No one knows for sure how Rome would have turned out had they not abolished the Republican Constitution, but many Romans long ago wished they had the opportunity to find out. Williamson 4 Works Cited Bentley, Jerry H and Herbert F.
Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Grant, Michael. "Tacitus on Corruption in the Early Empire. " Bentley, Jerry H and Herbert F.
Ziegler. Traditions & Enounters. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977. 270. Waalkes, Mary. Dr.
Waalkes' Lecture. Classroom Lecture. March 2009.