Political evolution of Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was the first democratic state, and also the only
one case when democracy had fallen. So there would be advisable to
present its political evolution (at least in my humble opinion).
- First, Rome was feudal state.
Rome was an important exporter of crops to Etruscan city-states, and
thus noble families have some political privileges under the
rule of a few last Etruscan kings. It is very likely that kingdom
of Rome was another example of “feudal democracy”, but I have only
- About 509 BC last
king Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquinius
the Proud) was defeated by revolution, and Rome
started to be populistic
republic. These times emerged the two
major political powers patricians, and plebeians that fought with
each others sometimes using very “dirty” methods. Generally these times
Rome was ruled by patricians or some dictators.
- About 499 BC there
was the Second Secession, when
plebeians went out of the city, and refuse to fight in
wars conducted by patrician government. The effect of that strike
was “Lex dudecim tabularum” (the Laws of Twelve Tables)
- the special
law codex that regulated political system of Rome, and organized Rome
law system, thus protecting plebeians against patricians abusing poorer
citizens thanks to unclear law regulations that have been used before.
- Since then Rome was democracy
strong political parties: plebeians, and patricians which have very
power. Political system was a little complicated but guaranteed good
over state officials. An effect of democracy was very stable expansion
Rome. About 133
BC this small city-state ruled or dominated almost
lands in the Mediterranean region.
- In 133 Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, and many of his
political partisans were killed by his opponents. Since then political
murder started to be an accepted tool in politics, so we can use this
date as the end of democratic system
an the beginning of populistic
system. Roman democracy had fallen because of the
too many conquered countries. Extra income from conquered countries
made the richest citizens even more richer, and thus gave them extra
political strength. And the agrarian crisis destroyed Roman
“middle-class”. Finally, after the civil war in 90-89 BC all Roman
allies in Italy became Roman citizens. As you can see, democracy in
Rome have fallen a few decades before Julius Caesar.
- From 133 BC to more or less end of II
century AD Roman Empire was an populistic country.
Roman Empire had no reasonable opponents, so continued expansion as
as it was possible.
- At the end of II century AD diffusion powers launched
another crisis that made Roman Empire an feudal country.
element of this fall was the edict of
emperor Caracalla (212 AD),
that gave citizens rights all free people who lived in the Empire.
- Since then till the final fall, the Roman Empire was an