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Ancient History Sourcebook:
The Roman Republic: Checks and Balances


American System -- based on balance of powers/functions

Executive

Legislative

Judicial

President

Congress

Supreme Court

Note: The only legitimate interest is that of the people

Roman System -- based on balance of interests

Monarchical

Aristocratic

Democratic

2 Consuls
+ other magistrates

Senate

Assembly of Tribes

Tribune

Directed government and army

Acted as judges

Could issue edicts

Acted as chief priest

Controlled state budget

Could pass laws

Approved/rejected laws

Decided on War

Tribune could veto actions of magistrate

Acted as final court

Basis of power:

possess imperium, the right to rule

need for leadership

Basis of power:

members were richest men in Rome.

Basis of power:

provided most of the soldiers

Limits on power:

one year term

each could veto

Limits on power:

could not control army

needed majority as soldiers.

Limits on power:

Could not suggest laws

often paid as clients by the elite


Source:

Chart by Paul Halsall


This text is part of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, August 2000
halsall@fordham.edu