The principle of the Roman government was to function for the people, hence classifying them as a republic (Res Publica or the Thing or Matter of the People). Before the commencement of the Republic, Rome was ruled by a line of Etruscan kings called Tarquins. The last Tarquin was described by Roman historian Livy as being harsh towards the Romans, as he promoted hard labor. He decreed the construction of the Great Sewer and the seats of the Circus, which were not the primary cause for the dread of the Roman people; the workers were also responsible for their typical military duties (Livy, 98). After the Tarquin monarchy , the Roman people had an everlasting fear of ever being subjected to a monarchy again. In order to maintain a balanced legislature, the government was split up into three branches: magistrates , the Senate and popular assemblies .
The magistrates are what the American government would consider the executive branch. They were the leaders of the political and military aspects of government and were led by the consuls. In most cases, the magistrates were only able to hold office for one year, this way they did not have enough time to accumulate power and ultimately overthrow the government or leave a significant impression on the Republic ...
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...bserve that this is quite similar in nature to the obligation a policeman has these days in the US when having to disclose someone’s right prior being detained. It is a check and balance construct that tries to keep the system just.
In 509 BC, the Tarquin line of kings was drawn from power and Rome began its stand as a Republic. The changes in the government and society of Rome were immense and were for the improvement of the city and its people. This aspiring new Republic did not flourish overnight into the perfect society; with the birth of the Republic came many new problems. Yet, it would be hard to imagine our modern society which we deem as democratic and just, not resting on the pillars and foundations that the Roman Republic gave us of their ideas on government branches with a system of checks and balances as well as the code of law created by the Romans.
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