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Republican Form of Government
The Roman government was a republic.
In a republic, citizens can choose their leaders.
The republic was established in 509 B.C. and lasted nearly 500 years.
One difference between the Roman republic and the Greek democracy was that in Greece all men could vote, but in Rome, only men with money and property could vote.
Another difference between the Roman republic and the Greek democracy was that in Greece all men voted on every law and in Rome the wealthy elected representatives to make laws for everyone.
This type of democracy is called a representative democracy.
How was the Roman government organized?
Since the Romans did not want one man to make all of the laws, they decided to balance the power of the government between three branches:
the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch.
The two leaders of the executive branch, the consuls, were elected for just one year by the upper class.
They supervised the Senate and ordered the Roman army during wars.
Other members of the executive branch were the tax collectors, mayors, city police, and other people in positions of power in cities.
The most powerful part of the legislative branch was the Senate..
The Senate was a group of about 300 male citizens who owned land.
They could tell the consuls how much money they could spend and on what.
These men were appointed by the consuls.
The judicial branch had six judges who were elected every two years.
They were in charge of deciding punishments that criminals would receive.
Their job was similar to the job that judges have today in the United States.
Would I have been able to vote in Rome?
In ancient Rome, you were not allowed to vote on laws or elect leaders of the government until you were an adult.
Even then, only men who owned land were allowed to have a say in the laws.
The Roman Forum
The forum was the center of political, commercial and judicial life in ancient Rome. The largest buildings were the basilicas, where legal cases were heard.
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