why was the roman republic not a democracy

1. How Do We Know? a. Archaeologists and Their Artifacts
b. Anthropologists and Their People c. Historians and Their Time d. Geographers and Their Space 2. Prehistoric Times a. "I Love Lucy" b. Food, Clothing and Shelter c. A Page Right Out of History d. First Technologies: Fire and Tools 3. Ancient Egypt a. Life along the Nile b. Egyptian Social Structure c. Dynasties d. Mummies e. Pyramids f. Women of Ancient Egypt 4. The Early Middle East a. Life in Sumer b. Babylonia c. Hammurabi's Code: An Eye for an Eye d. Assyrians: Cavalry and Conquests e. Persian Empire f. Phoenicians: Sailing Away g. Hebrews and the Land of Milk and Honey h. Birth of Christianity i. Muhammad and the Faith of Islam 5. Ancient Greece a. Rise of City-States: Athens and Sparta b. Democracy Is Born c. Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes d. Greek Literature e. Art and Architecture f. Thinkers g. Alexander the Great h. The Olympic Games 6. Ancient Rome a. The Roman Republic b. Julius Caesar c. The Pax Romana d. Life of the People e. Gladiators, Chariots, and the Roman Games f. The Fall of the Roman Empire 7. Africa a. Kingdom of Ghana b. Mali: A Cultural Center c. Benin and Its Royal Court d. Great Zimbabwe e. Life on the Desert 8. South Asia: India and Beyond a.


Early Civilization in the Indus Valley b. The Caste System c. The Rise of Hinduism d. The Birth and Spread of Buddhism e. The Gupta Period of India 9. China a. The Middle Kingdom b. Shang Dynasty China's First Recorded History c. Han Dynasty Cultural Heights d. Tang Dynasty The Golden Age e. Taoism and Confucianism Ancient Philosophies 10. Japan: An Island Nation a. Japanese Religion and Spirituality b. Early History and Culture c. Feudal Japan: The Age of the Warrior d. The Martial Arts e. Life During the Edo Period 11. Central and South American Empires a. Blood of Kings: The World of the Maya b. Deciphering Maya Glyphs c. The Inca Empire: Children of the Sun d. The Aztec World e. Clash of Cultures: Two Worlds Collide 6a. The Roman Republic The Romans established a form of government a republic that was copied by countries for centuries In fact, the government of the United States is based partly on Rome's model. It all began when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan conquerors in 509 B. C. E. Centered north of Rome, the Etruscans had ruled over the Romans for hundreds of years. Once free, the Romans established a republic, a government in which citizens elected representatives to rule on their behalf. A republic is quite different from a democracy, in which every citizen is expected to play an active role in governing the state.


The aristocracy (wealthy class) dominated the early Roman Republic. In Roman society, the aristocrats were known as patricians. The highest positions in the government were held by two consuls, or leaders, who ruled the Roman Republic. A senate composed of patricians elected these consuls. At this time, lower-class citizens, or plebeians, had virtually no say in the government. Both men and women were citizens in the Roman Republic, but only men could vote. Tradition dictated that patricians and plebeians should be strictly separated; marriage between the two classes was even prohibited. Over time, the plebeians elected their own representatives, 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. The Romans are famous as imperialists, not as pioneers in the history of democracy. This is neither surprising nor altogether unfair on them; all the same, they earn their place in this democracy series on the grounds that the system they operated in the middle and late Republican period (from about 300 BC until the establishment of the Empire in about 50 BC) contained a strong element of popular participation, even if balanced by a still stronger aristocratic tradition.


The Roman version of democracy suffered from the same limitations in the eyes of a modern critic as did the earlier Athenian version. The voters were all adult male citizens, so that women, slaves and those who did not have the citizenship of Rome, were totally excluded from political life. It also suffered from a series of further limitations of its own, through which the right to vote of the poorer citizens was limited in its effect by sets of ingenious arrangements in the way the voting assemblies worked. There is good reason to think that the effective voting was done by quite a limit- ed class of people, of means ranging from the most extensive to the relatively modest, and that the very poorest had little or no influence on events; if so, in this respect at least, there was a radical difference from the democracy of Athens, certainly from the form of democracy reached in the later fifth and fourth centuries BC.

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