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The Balance of Power inThe Balance of Power in
the Roman Republic,the Roman Republic,
the US Constitution,the US Constitut...
The Three Political Estates
• Monarchy: undivided rule or absolute
sovereignty by a single person
• Aristocracy: governmen...
Monarchy=Magistrates
• Roman Kingdom overthrown by Lucius Junius
Brutus.
• Power of kings given to the magistrates.
• Magi...
Aristocracy=Senate
• Roman Senate created by Romulus in 753
BC. Survived about 2000 years.
• Composed of wealthy citizens....
Democracy=Legislative Assemblies
• Elected magistrates.
• Enacted new laws.
• Capital punishment cases.
• Declared war and...
Balance of Powers in Rome
Monarchy-Aristocracy-Democracy
• Polybius: “None of the three is absolute, but the
purpose of th...
Trial and Error
• Polybius: “The Romans while they have
arrived at the same final result as regards
their form of governme...
The US Constitution
• The US replaced the three political power
bases with the three roles of government:
– Executive
– Le...
Similarities of Roman & US Constitutions
• Monarchy: Executive branch
– President=Consul
– Commander-in-Chief=temporary di...
Balance of Powers
• Madison: “The accumulation of all powers,
legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the
same hands, wh...
Changes in the US System
• More power to aristocracy:
– Representative for 700k instead of 33k.
• More power to monarchy:
...
The Fall of Roman Republic
• In ancient Rome, coalition of the people and
Julius Caesar (Consul) aligned to overthrow the
...
Fall of the United States?
• In the US, democratic and executive powers
have grown. Aristocracy has been diminished.
• Pre...
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The Balance of Power in the Roman Republic, the US Constitution, and Today

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The Balance of Power in the Roman Republic, the US Constitution, and Today

  1. 1. The Balance of Power inThe Balance of Power in the Roman Republic,the Roman Republic, the US Constitution,the US Constitution, and Todayand Today Michael E. NewtonMichael E. Newton The Path to Tyranny:The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society's Descent into TyrannyA History of Free Society's Descent into Tyranny
  2. 2. The Three Political Estates • Monarchy: undivided rule or absolute sovereignty by a single person • Aristocracy: government by the best individuals or by a small privileged class • Democracy: government by the people; especially : rule of the majority www.merriam-webster.com
  3. 3. Monarchy=Magistrates • Roman Kingdom overthrown by Lucius Junius Brutus. • Power of kings given to the magistrates. • Magistrates included consuls, praetors, censors, aediles, quaestors, tribunes, and dictators. • Each had checks on the other. • Term limited. • Powers – Commanded military. – Public order. – Summoned assemblies. – Introduced measures. – Administered popular decrees.
  4. 4. Aristocracy=Senate • Roman Senate created by Romulus in 753 BC. Survived about 2000 years. • Composed of wealthy citizens. • Nominated magistrates • Senate passed decrees for the magistrates to execute. • Foreign policy, but did not manage wars. • Civil administration of Rome. • Controlled the money.
  5. 5. Democracy=Legislative Assemblies • Elected magistrates. • Enacted new laws. • Capital punishment cases. • Declared war and peace. • Approved/disapproved alliances. • Individuals had provocatio (due process).
  6. 6. Balance of Powers in Rome Monarchy-Aristocracy-Democracy • Polybius: “None of the three is absolute, but the purpose of the one can be counterworked and thwarted by the others, none of them will excessively outgrow the others or treat them with contempt.” • Montesquieu: “The government of Rome was admirable. From its birth, abuses of power could always be corrected by its constitution, whether by means of the spirit of the people, the strength of the senate, or the authority of certain magistrates.”
  7. 7. Trial and Error • Polybius: “The Romans while they have arrived at the same final result as regards their form of government, have not reached it by any process of reasoning, but by the discipline of many struggles and troubles, and always choosing the best by the light of the experience gained in disaster have thus reached…the best of all existing constitutions.”
  8. 8. The US Constitution • The US replaced the three political power bases with the three roles of government: – Executive – Legislative – Judicial • Based on the British system and Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws.
  9. 9. Similarities of Roman & US Constitutions • Monarchy: Executive branch – President=Consul – Commander-in-Chief=temporary dictator – Treasury (now Fed too)=Censor • Aristocracy (meritocracy): Supreme Court, Senate, Electoral College • Democracy: House, trial by jury, state and local governments
  10. 10. Balance of Powers • Madison: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Federalist No. 47 • Madison: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” Federalist No. 51 – Checks & balances more important than separation of powers
  11. 11. Changes in the US System • More power to aristocracy: – Representative for 700k instead of 33k. • More power to monarchy: – Congress giving law-making powers to executive agencies. – Wars without Senate declaration. • More power to the people (democracy): – Direct election of Senators (1913). – Popular election of electoral college replaced selection by the states. – Ballot propositions replace state legislatures. – Primary elections. – Modern polling.
  12. 12. The Fall of Roman Republic • In ancient Rome, coalition of the people and Julius Caesar (Consul) aligned to overthrow the Senate. • Plutarch on Julius Caesar: – “Introduced sundry allotments and distributions of land… the populace were delighted.” – “As for the nobles, to some of them he promised consulships and praetorships in the future, others he appeased with sundry other powers and honours, and in all he implanted hopes, since he ardently desired to rule over willing subjects.”
  13. 13. Fall of the United States? • In the US, democratic and executive powers have grown. Aristocracy has been diminished. • President (political party) promises free gifts to the people • President (political party) promises favors to Reps and Senators (earmarks, Stupak). • Checks and balances disappear. Government grows. Tyranny commences. – Madison: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Federalist No. 47

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