Rome And America: A Shared Fate? Tragic Demise Of Democracy

Fortuna's Corner

Rome and America: A Shared Fate?

We aren’t talking about the death of empires, but the tragic demise of democracy.

Robert W. Merry

July 4, 2014

In 509 B.C., the leaders of ancient Rome abolished their 244-year old hereditary monarchy, banished their last king and his family, and set in motion the establishment of a constitutional republic. Executive power, once held by the kings, was given to a dual authority of two praetors (later called consuls), whose authority was divided to prevent governmental abuse and tyranny. The executives were proscribed from imposing death sentences without legislative approval. The power of the patrician assembly, or Senate, was curtailed by a new council of plebeian magistrates called tribunes, which could nullify noxious actions of the consuls.

The plebs soon demanded definite, written and secular laws. Before, as Will Durant tells us, patrician priests had been the recorders and interpreters of the statutes…

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