Exam 1 Essay Question
Jack Miller
September 27th, 2016
History of Ancient Rome

3. Compare Rome under the kings vs. Rome as a Republic. What were the major differences and which system seemed to work more efficiently?

What do you think of when you hear the words republic or imperial system? As Americans, we would generally perceive republic as fair, just, and that the people are in control ("the public") while on the other hand we would comprehend an imperial system as corrupt and by nature extremely harsh. However, us Americans focus on the philosophical differences of these forms of government and our modern conceptions actually do not convert to the times of Ancient Rome. Back then the republic and the imperial system were very similar compared to how they are viewed now; in fact they are viewed as polar opposites now. The imperial system (Rome under the kings) was more efficient than the Rome as a Republic because of these major differences: the republic could not keep control of the vast empire, the imperial system acted more in favor of the "common man" than the republic did, and lastly the republic followed a set of rules and guidelines (constitution) while the imperial system was an emperor who had complete control.

The first major difference that helped me decide which system worked more efficiently was how the republic could not keep control of the vast empire. The key problem raised by the republics vast size was it was not able to control the military, which lead to violence. While on the other hand, the imperial system had the addition of the civil service or the emperor's personal guards that helped them gain control over the military. The military was an essential asset to the country and it needed them so that Rome could prosper and protect itself. Since the Roman Republic could not even keep control of the empire/military, it was bound to collapse. Even though it had positive aspects to it that might have carried on into the imperial system, the republic was not more efficient and might have been just as corrupt as the imperial system was thought out to be.

For example, the imperial system was thought to be much more unethical and by nature extremely harsh to the citizens than the republic was, however, it actually acted more in favor of the "common man" than the republic ever did. At the time the average person of Ancient Rome was either a woman or a slave, people who had no political power, and during the rule under kings the government passed several laws that limited the extreme abuse or vengefulness of owners to his or her slaves. The whole time during the era of the republic not one law was passed to help women or slaves. So while the imperial system was trying to give aid to the "common man", the republic was abusing and killing him or her. This information encouraged me to explore more into the structure of these forms of government because the imperial system was perceived to be something it was not.

Lastly, the final difference that guided me to my conclusion about which form of government is more efficient was the fact that the Roman Republic was guided by a very complex constitution, whereas in the imperial system the emperor had complete control over the Senate and the Empire. At first, this may seem as a terrible choice, however, the king was selected because of his virtues not his heritage or ancestry like in the Roman Republic. The emperor held 3 areas of power in which he could exert complete control over the empire. The 3 areas of power were the military, the decision for senate roles, and the power to veto. If the people chose the correct man for the job, then he would use these powers to benefit the country, just as Augustus did. The republic constitution was to complex to follow every little thing on it, thus the imperial system took the important aspects of it and applied it to their government. This difference was very important in swaying me towards choosing that Rome under the kings was more efficient than Rome as a Republic.