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The History Of Roman Government Essay

2339 words - 9 pages

The history of the Roman people can be documented from prehistoric times, to the death of Emperor Constantine the great in 337 A.D. It can be categorized into three major divisions, the monarchy, the Republic, and the Empire. (Starr, The Ancient Romans) Rome during the monarchic years created and developed institutions and trends of great importance for the future life of the Roman people. Trends such as the way family was treated, a concept of private property, social and political institutions, law, and finally religion. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to describe this, Because of the unsatisfactory nature of existing sources of information. (Starr, The Ancient Romans) Roman history, like Greek history can be seen as a confused mess of truth and fiction. Some of the earliest history we have, can be credited to Levi and Dionysius, who wrote in the time of Augustus, but were so far removed from the early events that their value is pretty questionable. That being said, few civilizations have had the type of impact on the world that the Romans did, though not perfect they contributed several things that helped shape the Western world. In short Roman history is, a history of the world and by studying Roman history, we can help identify problems, and come up with solutions, that will make a better future.
The exact history of the Roman transition from kinship to Republic this kind of hazy. According to ancient tradition, the Romans overthrew Tarquin the proud because of his tyrannical government and his son’s rape of a noble man's daughter. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) Her death, is said to have set off a violent revolution which resulted in the expulsion of the Tarquins, and the abolition of the monarchy, which led to the establishment of the Republic with fully developed institutions of government. In this system two annually elected consuls, with equal executive powers and the right to veto his colleague’s acts, assumed the command of the King. This division and limitation of executive power was designed to guard against tyranny. However in times of crisis one of the consuls could, with the approval of the Senate, nominate a dictator, who then would appoint a Master of the horse as his chief assistant, and together would assume the power of both consuls. However the dictator would only be able to rule for six months, after which he would return power to the consuls. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome)
The early history of the Republic was dominated by the struggle between two distinct social and political classes, the patricians and the plebeians. The patricians simply put, were the nobles, while the plebeians on the other hand were the mass of common Freeman and immigrants. Both classes enjoyed rights of citizenship, but differed from each other in social and political privileges. The Patricians monopolized all the early Senate and filled the priestly colleges and other offices. (McDonald) Plebeians had the right to trade, acquire property,...

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