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How Rome Destroyed Its Own Republic

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Augustus told Romans he was the only one who could save Rome. And they believed him.

 

Imagine a world in which political norms have broken down. Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs elections and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat’s personality cult and agree that he should have absolute control.

 

Welcome to Rome in the first century B.C.E. The republic that had existed for over 400 years had finally hit a crisis it couldn’t overcome. Rome itself wouldn’t fall, but during this period it lost its republic forever.

 

The man who played the biggest role in disrupting Rome’s republic was Augustus Caesar, who made himself the first emperor of Rome in 27 B.C.E. By that point, the republic’s political norms had been breaking down for about a century, and Augustus was in a position to take advantage of that.

 

Before that century, “there had been a really long period where the republic functioned,” says Edward J. Watts, author of the new book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny. Political norms were heeded; and when the government ran into a new problem, it would amend itself to keep working. For over 300 years, the republic operated this way. There was no political violence, land theft or capital punishment, because those went against the political norms Rome had established.

 

Then, in 133 B.C.E., Rome experienced its first political murder in the history of the republic. Senators were angry that Tiberius Gracchus, an elected official who had tried to redistribute land to the poor, was seeking a second term as tribune of the plebs. During a fight that broke out between Tiberius’s followers and opponents, senators beat him to death with wooden chairs and helped murder nearly 300 of his followers.

 

Political violence increased in the 80s B.C.E., when political factions started stealing people’s land and killing their enemies. In 44, senators murderedAugustus’ great-uncle Julius Caesar after he unconstitutionally named himself dictator for life.

 

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Non-violent political dysfunction increased during this time, too. During the 60s B.C.E., a senator named Cato the Younger had constantly and unnecessarily used procedural delays to block the senate from voting on legislation he did not like for years. Other senators went along with this because they considered Cato a moral leader.

In 59 B.C.E., one of the consuls working with Cato even tried to shut down all public business for the entire year by declaring each day of the year a religious holiday. (In the Roman Republic, saying the gods were angry was an acceptable reason to declare a holiday and postpone voting.)

 

So why didn’t anyone step in to punish these politicians for their antics? “If you believe your republic will last forever, then doing things like not holding a vote on something essential for three years—you don’t see the problem in that, necessarily,” Watts suggests.

 

As Rome grew, it periodically amended its republic to keep it functioning. However, by the time of Cato the Younger, the republic had functioned so well for so long that a lot of people took its ability to survive for granted. And by the time Augustus took power, most people didn’t remember a time before political violence, land theft and government dysfunction were the norm.

 

Augustus realized that his subjects were traumatized by the status quo. His winning tactic was to “promise that the rule of law would return—and that no one would be executed for no reason and no one’s property would be stolen,” says Watts. “There were a lot of people who were willing to accept that in exchange for the right to have what we would see as political freedom.”

 

image.png

 

In other words, a lot of Romans were okay with Augustus assuming supreme control as long as he kept the peace—never mind that he had actually contributed to the violence and property thefts he now claimed only he could fix. Five years into his rule, Augustus bragged: “I freed all people from the fear and danger they experienced using my own funds.”

 

In addition to Augustus’ position as emperor, he also served as one of two consuls. The position of consul was technically the highest elected office in Rome, but under Augustus the elections weren’t free and he “won” every year. Free Roman men could still vote for other elected officials (as opposed to free women and slaves, who couldn’t vote), but there was a catch.

“No one really could run if [Augustus] didn’t approve of them,” Watts says. “So it wasn’t possible really to run as a candidate who opposed Augustus.”

 

Historians like Watts are still surprised—and unsettled—by the longevity of the Roman state following its massive governmental collapse. “It could have been and probably should have been much, much worse for the Romans than it actually was to lose their republic,” says Watts. 

 

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On 1/1/2020 at 4:01 PM, fixer said:

Augustus told Romans he was the only one who could save Rome. And they believed him.

 

Imagine a world in which political norms have broken down. Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs elections and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat’s personality cult and agree that he should have absolute control.

 

Welcome to Rome in the first century B.C.E. The republic that had existed for over 400 years had finally hit a crisis it couldn’t overcome. Rome itself wouldn’t fall, but during this period it lost its republic forever.

 

The man who played the biggest role in disrupting Rome’s republic was Augustus Caesar, who made himself the first emperor of Rome in 27 B.C.E. By that point, the republic’s political norms had been breaking down for about a century, and Augustus was in a position to take advantage of that.

 

Before that century, “there had been a really long period where the republic functioned,” says Edward J. Watts, author of the new book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny. Political norms were heeded; and when the government ran into a new problem, it would amend itself to keep working. For over 300 years, the republic operated this way. There was no political violence, land theft or capital punishment, because those went against the political norms Rome had established.

 

Then, in 133 B.C.E., Rome experienced its first political murder in the history of the republic. Senators were angry that Tiberius Gracchus, an elected official who had tried to redistribute land to the poor, was seeking a second term as tribune of the plebs. During a fight that broke out between Tiberius’s followers and opponents, senators beat him to death with wooden chairs and helped murder nearly 300 of his followers.

 

Political violence increased in the 80s B.C.E., when political factions started stealing people’s land and killing their enemies. In 44, senators murderedAugustus’ great-uncle Julius Caesar after he unconstitutionally named himself dictator for life.

 

image.png

 

Non-violent political dysfunction increased during this time, too. During the 60s B.C.E., a senator named Cato the Younger had constantly and unnecessarily used procedural delays to block the senate from voting on legislation he did not like for years. Other senators went along with this because they considered Cato a moral leader.

In 59 B.C.E., one of the consuls working with Cato even tried to shut down all public business for the entire year by declaring each day of the year a religious holiday. (In the Roman Republic, saying the gods were angry was an acceptable reason to declare a holiday and postpone voting.)

 

So why didn’t anyone step in to punish these politicians for their antics? “If you believe your republic will last forever, then doing things like not holding a vote on something essential for three years—you don’t see the problem in that, necessarily,” Watts suggests.

 

As Rome grew, it periodically amended its republic to keep it functioning. However, by the time of Cato the Younger, the republic had functioned so well for so long that a lot of people took its ability to survive for granted. And by the time Augustus took power, most people didn’t remember a time before political violence, land theft and government dysfunction were the norm.

 

Augustus realized that his subjects were traumatized by the status quo. His winning tactic was to “promise that the rule of law would return—and that no one would be executed for no reason and no one’s property would be stolen,” says Watts. “There were a lot of people who were willing to accept that in exchange for the right to have what we would see as political freedom.”

 

image.png

 

In other words, a lot of Romans were okay with Augustus assuming supreme control as long as he kept the peace—never mind that he had actually contributed to the violence and property thefts he now claimed only he could fix. Five years into his rule, Augustus bragged: “I freed all people from the fear and danger they experienced using my own funds.”

 

In addition to Augustus’ position as emperor, he also served as one of two consuls. The position of consul was technically the highest elected office in Rome, but under Augustus the elections weren’t free and he “won” every year. Free Roman men could still vote for other elected officials (as opposed to free women and slaves, who couldn’t vote), but there was a catch.

“No one really could run if [Augustus] didn’t approve of them,” Watts says. “So it wasn’t possible really to run as a candidate who opposed Augustus.”

 

Historians like Watts are still surprised—and unsettled—by the longevity of the Roman state following its massive governmental collapse. “It could have been and probably should have been much, much worse for the Romans than it actually was to lose their republic,” says Watts. 

 

 

This is very spot on and should sound very familiar in modern day.  This is exactly what has happened to us.  Our variation however is, we have allowed legislation's to be passed that violated the bedrock principals.  This surmounts to many holes in the sinking ship.  Many things were brought to us under certain guises and using false flags.  Also, it's very difficult when you have traitors mixed in and election theft, obviously those people will not care about the people or what they say.

 

That is not all there is to the story however.  I would recommend Edward Gibbons - Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol I, II, III.  The conclusion not only shows what you are saying, but also, Rome did not fall until they began killing each other.  This is why I have stated, the reason our traitors in our midst are stating, "Nobody is above the law" is because they hijacked it and we just allowed it, buried our heads, fell asleep, whatever you attribute this complacency and lack of enforcing the basics, violations of oath of office, violations of judicial oath, violation of oath, election theft and tampering, to.  But, the most fearful is the fact, these people want us killing each other, it's the sure route to ending the United States.  That's a matter of historical record, time and time again.  What you are witnessing is history repeating it's self.  Our founders new history so well they built in all the right redundancies for every case, just need to know them.  Interesting most people now don't know the Constitution and basic law, I sure didn't until the last year for sure.

 

Our country has several factors involved, the first, predominant are, moral and spiritual bankruptcy.  I attribute this to why there has been such complacency.  Courage is derived from moral and spiritual fitness.  Obviously man's nature is to deny God as a result and desire to be as God.  This denial of God refutes physical evidence that made this country morally and spiritually successful and was the back bone initially, Jesus Christ, and to ensure there was no question, the physical evidence of what our founders attributed God to was etched in stone on the Supreme Court walls, the 10 commandments.  All of which are actions, not subjective and very measurable.  This is why there has been such complacency and capitulation to perfected Psychology and it's warfare.  Having a solid moral basis alone really cements one against Psychological Warfare.  Last, moral and spiritual bankruptcy is why so many have accepted bribes, been compromised and there has been a lack of enforcing our basic laws, but in conjunction with the public complacency, and their burying their heads in the sand on the obvious problems so long, now, the fall of the United States from within may be inevitable. 

 

Only a fool say's there is no God and cares not for their eternal accountability, and soul.  That would be our enemy for sure, but this is also very rampant among the common sense folks to a degree.  So much so, that when Roe vs Wade was passed, we just kept trucking as if nothing is wrong.  My greatest fear is, there is a God, and I don't think he would approve of the murder of 60 million unborn.  Call it what you will, but, ultimately I have lived long enough to know, what goes around comes around, and I imagine in many cases, it's God stepping in to render consequences not some natural law.  Therefor I'd be more concerned on God's attitude towards this country, and I wouldn't be so quick to say we are under God, but that we are away from God and/or God is against us.  Rome, at the beginning believed in God's and had some spiritual basis, in the middle of her height of power, Christianity was born and spread like wild fire.  Since then Christianity grew massively and regardless of your opinion, the first moral code of man was, "The Ten Commandments".  Take the time to reflect on this, if anything, I'd say, abortion is probably the number one major issue that must be stopped above anything else, the Bible makes direct reference to Gods opinion towards blood and I'd be and am deeply concerned more about his divine providence then anything else.  Even if there was no God, best to error on the side of caution, what harm could there be anyways?  What have we lost for being obedient vs what are the gains?

 

 

 

Edited by I3DI

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This tidbit of world history concerning Rome makes me think of our Founders. They were all very well educated men of a level I will never achieve, and neither do most in modern times. They had studied the various governments of nations all over the known world, but their historical knowledge of Greece, Rome, and England were extensively used. Their brilliance, wisdom, and I think proof that God led them, was the way they took from the best parts of those governments and provided safeguards against the worst parts of other governments. The rise of successful nations were noted... the way they met their demise and what caused it was also taken into account... as well as national protections against ideologies that threatened our Constitution were also rendered into the text... and of course, every effort was made to give us every tool we needed to PRESERVE it all.

As this lesson shows (and it is just the tip of the iceberg concerning failures and anarchy that always looms behind those that become complacent), it doesn't matter how mighty you are... you will fall should you stray from your given course. When the standard of any land becomes that of corruption, there are choices to be made by every citizen... while there is still time... to even have a choice.

Roman citizens never had a chance. We do. But that will not be an eternal condition... and it may not even last to the next generation. Knowing WHEN to make a decision is more important than even making the right decision. The right decision made too late amounts to naught. 

 

 

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