Caius Gracchus: Rabble Rouser Or Social Reformer?

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Jeff Watson 17 February 2012 HIST 1061 TA: Kyle English Caius Gracchus: Rabble Rouser or Social Reformer? Throughout history, one of the main questions surrounding the legacies of great politicians is what their true motives were. Were they principally concerned with the common good of their constituents, or were they power hungry, bent on doing whatever they could to obtain popularity? This is the dilemma that surrounds the legacy of Caius Gracchus, a politician who served in the Roman government during the second century BCE. Considered a man of the people, Caius enacted many public works and laws aimed at benefitting the common man. However, some believe there were ulterior motives behind his intense political reform. Caius was…show more content…
He was elected to the position of tribune for three consecutive terms. The office of tribune was very fitting office for a public servant like Gracchus. Within Rome, there were two classes of people: the patricians and the plebeians. The class of the patricians housed the powerful and wealthy. Often involved in politics, these people were born into wealth were known to use money and power in Rome’s political system to benefit themselves. The patricians were very much the minority to the much larger, but considerably less powerful plebeian class. The plebes were essentially the common man. The farmers, the peasants, the servants, and the slaves of Rome, the plebeian class, while large in numbers had little voice and political influence suffering due to the advantages wielded by the patrician…show more content…
While on campaign in Sardinia, Caius’s army became under clothed during a harsh winter. Caius petitioned the Roman senate to collect a tax to clothe his army, but they refused. Seeing this as extremely unfair, upon returning Caius passed a law to clothe the Roman army through taxes. These men were drafted into service and fought and died for the name of Rome, yet the senate was so unkind as to leave them cold and unclothed. Not only was this an astute political move, it was also a necessary service provided to those who kept Rome safe. While Caius’s public reforms did much to help the Roman people, what truly set him apart as a social reformer were his actions outside of the Roman political sphere. In his second term as tribute, Caius left his house on the Palatine Hill to live in the market place with the common people of Rome. He left his life of luxury to live a common life among his constituents so that he could better serve their interests. This shows Caius’s strong political sensibilities, as well as his dedication to employing social reform to make Rome a better place for all of its’

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