Thursday, June 16, 2011

Did the founding father based the their vision of the american republic on the roman Republic?

my little brother is reading lots of ancient roman historians, Polybius, Livy
and it seems that other then imperial tendencies and capitalist ideologies (i am not criticizing or any thing) there seem to be allot of similarities between the roman democracy and the american democracy
and since the USA is the first democratic state in the modern world (there where small Republics city states in Italy but i don't think that counts) that i assumed that probably the founding father based the american government and the idea of separation of authorities got the idea from studding the ancient roman form of government.

am i right?

please don't answer just yes or no... if you can give me some prof, like something some one said or wrote about the subject

Answer on Did the founding father based the their vision of the american republic on the roman Republic?

The found fathers most certainly did not envision their United States as an extension of Roman Republicanism, just as Plato most certainly did not envision his Utopia in, 'Republic' to be a democracy of any sort. Republic literally means, "public thing", and the Roman patricians understood that important matters were to be decided amongst peers. Peers, in this instance, referred to those of patrician ancestry. Plebeians, women, well-to-do equities, non-Romans and non-citizens were left out of the government as far as the patricians could get away with it. The famous Twelve Tables, in fact, could only be interpreted by paid priests whom typically only the wealthy could afford. In this way, the patricians held a monopoly over law and rule with their advantage of literacy and relationship with the very established cadre of Italian clergy from both Etruscan and Roman cultures. The United States Constitution is quite different in this respect, though it took many court cases and a few amendments to actually guarantee universal suffrage despite its original intent.

Though their were class riots for suffrage and adequate representation in the Latin realm as the Republic aged, these were eventually brutally put down and their leaders bought out. Furthermore, separation of powers by governmental branch truly did not exist in the Roman Republic. All offices were subject and wholly subservient to the authority of the Roman Senate and its cabal of very conservative leadership. The idea of separation of powers did not arise until the 19th Century with the birth of Liberalism and its sweeping criticisms of limited suffrage and economic freedom. Until this time, even the famous Parliament of England had suffrage extended only to a very small handful of the total population.