Struggle Of The Orders Analysis

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From the beginning of Rome as an established nation, the struggle between the Patricians and Plebeians was present. What is clear as the Republic continues in growth and complexity, is a well-defined progression of popular representation within the government. The Struggle of the Orders represents a point in which democracy seems to begin to limit the power of the senate. In 494 B.C.E. when the Plebeians threatened to secede from Rome and establish their own state, the Senate was forced to establish the Tribune of the Plebs; a body of Plebeians representative of the popular interests. Tribunes possessed the authority of the absolute veto except in the area of military policy, and under dictatorial rule. Essentially compromising with the people …show more content…
These events directly limited senatorial authority by way of the of the people and demonstrated a basic transformation in the late Republic. Over the course of ninety years (between 140 and 50 B.C.E), he deduces that over half of these laws sought to limit the discretionary power of the senate, while the others either provided the Plebeians with rights and power, or essentially land; furthermore, proving that such popular assertion occurred quite frequently during this period. Despite what may be considered a monopolization of oratory and therefore proposed legislation, the populous quite simply did not buy in to the word of the elite hegemony that often. In fact, the public according to Mornstein-Marx was well aware of their opposition to the senate. Adding that a fundamental reason for such autonomous opinion may be a result of individuals like the Gracchi who found themselves in the peculiar position of representing the people while serving in a resistant senate. Which bring us to our next …show more content…
Prior to the Gracchi there is definitive evidence to support a system that did not necessarily take in to account popular will, but even so, there is still a genuine progression of popular assertion checking the power of the senate throughout the Republic’s infancy. By the time of the Gracchi we see a shift within the senate, and a realization that popular approval goes quite far in the scope of legislation and elections. So while some might ask how could Rome be a democracy if it eventually would fall to tyranny? Well the answer is that while the Republic was in existence, it fundamentally thrived on a progression of popular assertion and therefore some element that could be defined as

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