How Democratic Was the Roman Republic

2 February 2017

How democratic was the Roman Republic in the 1st Century BC? By Joe Harris F6 Plan – 1500 words Introduction: 150 words Para 1: 250 words – Tribunes: Peoples voice in the tribunes/stripped under sulla Para 2: 250 words – Democratic institutions: voting, law courts Para 3: 250 words – Biased towards the aristocracy Para 4: 250 words – corruption/ voting syndicates Para 5: 250 words – relative to other empires of the time Conclusion: 150 words Introduction:The definition of a democracy: ‘Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or their elected agents under a free electoral system.

’ There are various different arguments relating to how democratic the Roman Republic in the 1st Century BC was. It is hard to make a clear cut decision on whether it was a democracy or not due to the fact the Republic was shifting and changing constantly during the 1st Century BC.On one hand you could argue that the Republic was democratic due to the fact there were democratic institutions put in place, the people had a voice with the tribunes and in relation to other great empires of the period the Roman Republic was probably the most democratic out of them all. On the other hand, however, the Republic seemed to be heavily influenced by the aristocracy, corruption was rife and more often than not the people’s views were crushed or ignored by dictators or the senate who were looking solely for their own benefit. The Tribunate:Every year in the Roman Republic ten people’s tribunes were voted in, these tribunes were meant to be the voice of the people. They had special powers including, proposing legislation before the Plebeian council, being sacrosanct, being able to veto any proposal of the senate if they thought it was not in the best wishes of the people and being able to summon the senate and lay proposals before it. These powers enabled the tribunes to voice the opinions of the masses and giving them a voice in democratic matters, so it can be argued that the existence of the tribunes made the republic democratic because every person had a voice.

How Democratic Was the Roman Republic Essay Example

During the dictatorship of Sulla starting in 81 BC after the Social War had ended, Sulla restricted the power of the tribunes by removing their power to initiate any legislation, removing their power to veto a proposal by the senate and not allowing any ex-tribunes to ever hold any other office again. Sulla crippled the tribunate by removing its power and prestige as no one who had any ambition would become a tribune because it would be a dead end career. By doing this the people’s voices would no longer hold as much power as they had done so previously, thus making the republic a whole lot less democratic.

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