Because aristocratic families in ancient Rome did not want a government dominated by one ruler, they overthrew the king to avoid losing their own power and established the Roman Republic in 509 B.C. In this new government, the idea was that an entire community of people would take part in the government. Though it was to include all citizens, it was dominated by the patricians: the elite, noble and upper class of Rome, with the plebeians (anyone who wasn 't a patrician) bringing up the rear. Structurally, this government consisted of patricians, who would be in the highest seats of the government, such as consuls and senators, and the plebeians, with a lesser say in government matters and banned from holding political office, were members of an assembly, effectively choosing the aforementioned consuls from the senate, leaving most of the benefits from this structure for the patricians.
The patricians, who consisted of the noble and elite of ancient Rome, were able to hold the highest seats in the government. The highest of these were the consuls. Two consuls were chosen annually and administered the government and led the Roman army into battle (The Roman Republic p 117). These consuls were chosen from the senate, a group of 300 elected patricians. The consuls remained in Rome, unless there was an emergency, in which case they would resign and assign a dictator with unlimited power to run the state. Consuls would have had the power to use as much of the public money that they wanted, along with bringing foreign ambassadors to the senate, summon meetings and bring proposals on matters that may require authorization from the people. The consuls had all of the power, with every other tribune under them and following orders.
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...the first formal codification of Roman laws and customs." (The Roman Republic p.119) Eventually, with the publication of these laws, plebians and patricians were able to intermarry and the division between the two groups softened.
While the Roman Republic government was beneficial to all parties involved, it was most beneficial to the upper class and elite patricians. They had the most say in matters, as they held the highest seats in government offices, while the plebeians, at the beginning were forbidden to hold any seat in government. Though they were able to vote their public office officials, they had little say over anything else, until they decided that enough was enough and eventually formed their own assemblies and tribunes, writing their own laws and allowing for intermarriage and eventual plebian placement in the consulship. (The Roman Republic p. 119)
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