Why Did the Roman Republic Collapse?

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Why Did the Roman Republic Collapse? Keven Johnson Professor L. Reams History-1 70006 10 December 2012 Why Did the Roman Republic Collapse? The Roman republic was founded following the deposition of the last king of Rome. It was said that the Romans, tired of the tyranny of a monarchy, vowed that a king would never again rule Rome. This occurred sometime around 509 BC, and led to the creation of a new form of government called a republic.1 However, as the centuries passed, the republican dream slowly began to fade. Quite obviously, many things happened in the world of Rome that led to the eventual collapse of the Roman Republic. At around 133 BC, Rome was a republic. But less than a hundred years later, an emperor ruled it.1 An imperial system as a form of government was very different from the system that was envisioned by the Romans when they deposed the last king near the end of the 6th century BC. An imperial system was against everything Romans stood for. Instead of freedom and democracy, it oppresses and exerts arbitrary force.1 Before the fall of the Republic, the power rested with the people. The state was ruled by magistrates who themselves were elected by the people. So, although the rich dominated the political sphere, at the root of it all, those who held the real power were actually elected by the people. The magistrates made laws and decided the most important decisions affecting the state. When Emperor Augustus died, popular elections were outdated. It was expected instead that the imperial household would produce the successor to Roman power. The power had moved from the hands of the people, to imperial rulers, their households, and their heirs. This dramatic change was the culmination of civil strife and open warfare that created the conditions for powerful men to dominate the state, and to exclude the will and
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