The Conflict Of Orders: The Struggle Of The Orders

Better Essays
“The Conflict of the Orders, also referred to as the Struggle of the Orders, was a political struggle between the Plebeians (commoners) and Patricians (aristocrats) of the ancient Roman Republic lasting from 494 BC to 287 BC, in which the Plebeians sought political equality with the Patricians. It played a major role in the development of the Constitution of the Roman Republic. Shortly after the founding of the Republic, this conflict led to a secession from Rome by Plebeians to the Sacred Mount at a time of war. The result of this first secession was the creation of the office of Plebeian Tribune, and with it the first acquisition of real power by the Plebeians.
At first only Patricians were allowed to stand for election to political
…show more content…
I would like to discuss how, in at least three ways, the economic and political differences between the patricians and the plebeian classes ultimately led to a plebeian revolt. The first succession was due to these 3 factors. (B.C. 494) 1. Poverty & Distress of the Plebeians due to previous wars left the Plebeians in a state of poverty. 2. The Unjust Law of Debt put the Plebeians in a place where they had to borrow money from the rich Patricians putting them in the debtor class. If they could not pay their debt, they were arrested and made a slave of the creditor. 3. The Unequal Division of the Public Land which was public land which had been gained in a war. The land was supposed to belong to all the people and could have been used in helping the poor get out of debt. However the government was in the hands of the Patricians which secured the land for themselves. This was what caused the Plebeians to revolt and leave the Patricians to fight their own battles in the first succession. The Patricians realized right away that this would be the destruction of Rome. They made a decree to forgive all debts to those who were insolvent and release all who had been imprisoned. In addition they did the following: (Morey, THE STRUGGLE FOR ECONOMIC RIGHTS, 2014) 1. The Tribunes of the People were given to protect the plebeians from…show more content…
Unlike the patricians, the lower or plebeian class may have suffered under the early republican structure more than they had under monarchy, since they now had, in effect, many rulers. Under the monarchy, they had endured just one. A similar situation in ancient Greece sometimes led the lower classes to welcome tyrants. In Athens, the political movement against a hydra-headed governing body led to codification of laws and then democracy.
In addition to the many headed hydra breathing down their necks, the plebeians lost access to what had been regal domain and was now the public land or ager publics, because the patricians who were in power, took control of it to increase their profits, running it by slaves or clients in the country while they and their families lived in the city.
After the plebeian aedileship had been created, the patricians created the cruel aedileship. After the consulship had been opened to the plebeians, the plebeians were able to hold both the dictatorship and the censorship. Plebiscites of 342 BC placed limits on political offices; an individual could hold only one office at a time, and ten years must elapse between the end of his official term and his re-election. Further laws attempted to relieve the burden of debt from plebeians by banning interest on loans. In 337 BC, the first plebeian praetor was
Get Access