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The Decline of the Roman Republic DRAFT 2

The Decline of the Roman Republic DRAFT 2

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Research Paper 
 Jeremy OlsonAugust 29, 2005
The Fall of the Roman Republic1
 
 TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction..............................................................................................................................2II. The Struggle of Orders...........................................................................................................4III. Expansion............................................................................................................................10A. The loss of “Civic Virtue”b. The Roman soldier’s relationship with his state and his generalIV. Ambitious Politicians...........................................................................................................13A. Tiberius GracchusB. Gaius GracchusC. Marius and SullaD. Gaius Julius CaesarV. Conclusion............................................................................................................................32
 THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN REPUB-LIC
I. Introduction
 The definition of a “republic” according to the Oxford American Diction-ary is “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elec-
The Fall of the Roman Republic2
 
ted representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president ratherthan a monarch.”
1
In 509 BC, the destiny of a little city on the coast of Italy, and indeed,the history of the world, was altered forever. This is because in 509 BC theRoman Republic was officially established. If this event did not take place,the geographical borders of today’s modern nations would be dramaticallyaltered, and the world situation would be something entirely different thanwhat it is today. This is because Rome would not have become successfulhad it allowed itself to be ruled by kings and potential tyrants such as Tarqini-us Superbus: the last king of Rome. Under the Republic, Rome eventually be-came the only superpower in the entire western world. Before the Roman Re-public was established, Rome was threatened by many rivals. Under the ruleof the Republic, those rivals became no more. There was no
one
reason that the Roman Republic fell. Throughout theRoman Republic’s history (approximately 509 BC to 27 BC
2
) there were nu-merous events, personalities, and laws that can be considered as contribut-ing factors to the decline of the Roman Republic. The first of these factorswas the struggle of the orders, in which the majority of the Roman peopleknown as plebeians, fought for their rights. The second factor was Rome’stremendous expansion in and around the year 146 BC
3
and the issue of thatexpansion. The third and last major factor is ambitious politicians who tookadvantage of the previous factors to strengthen their cause and, ultimately,contort the Roman Republic into a state in which neither the people, nor theirelected representatives, were the sovereign rulers, but rather a supremeruler or emperor, backed by his army, ruled Rome with unquestioned author-ity.1 “Republic,” Oxford American Dictionaries, 2005 ed.2 Erich Gruen, “Ancient Rome,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1997 ed.3 Richard Hooker,
The Punic Wars,
1996, Washington State University, June7, 2005<http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/Rome/Rome.HTM>.
The Fall of the Roman Republic3

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