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The Rise of the Roman Republic. Republic. A form of government with elected leaders developed in Rome in 509 B.C.E. Not all citizens could participate At first, only the Patricians could vote and hold office. Created a divide between the Plebeians and Patricians.

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  • A form of government with elected leaders developed in Rome in 509 B.C.E.

  • Not all citizens could participate

  • At first, only the Patricians could vote and hold office.

  • Created a divide between the Plebeians and Patricians.

  • Creation of the Roman Republic made Rome more democratic (but still not a complete democracy)

Difference between patricians and plebeians
Difference between Patricians and Plebeians



Made up around 95% of the population

Plebs means “many”

Mostly peasants, farmers, laborers, craftspeople and shopkeepers.

Could not take part in the government at first

Served in the military

  • Upper Class

  • Wealthy Landowners

  • Owned valuable land

  • House in the city and Villa in the countryside

  • Held all the government positions at first


  • 300 Men elected by the Patricians

  • Senate decisions were treated as laws

  • Were extremely Powerful

  • Elected two leaders to be Consuls

  • Consuls shared command of the Army

The plebeians rebel
The plebeians rebel

  • “Conflict of Orders”

  • In 494 B.C.E. the Plebeians decided to protest

    • Left the city of Rome

    • Stopped working on the farms

    • Refused to fight for Rome in the Army

Plebeians gain political equality
Plebeians gain Political equality

  • Patricians agreed to let the Plebeians participated in the government

  • Tribunes – elected Plebeians who spoke on their behalf

  • Tribunes later gained the power to veto (over rule actions)

  • Council of Plebs (only made laws for the Plebeians)

  • Around 451 B.C.E. after continued protests by the Plebeians, the Patricians agreed to have laws written down on tablets called the Twelve Tables

Twelve tables
Twelve tables

  • IV. 2 "If a father surrender his son for sale three times, the son shall be free."

  • V. 7 A spendthrift is forbidden to exercise administration over his own goods.

  • V. 8 The inheritance of a Roman citizen-freedman is made over to his patron, if the freedman has died intestate and has no natural successor.

Twelve tables continues
Twelve Tables Continues

  • VI. 2 Marriage by `usage' (usus): If a man and woman live together continuously for a year, they are considered to be married; the woman legally is treated as the man's wife.

  • VIII. 1 "If any person has sung or composed against another person a SONG (carmen) such as was causing slander or insult.... he shall be clubbed to death."

  • VIII. 2 "If a person has maimed another's limb, let there be retaliation in kind, unless he agrees to make compensation with him." (Lextalionis)

  • VIII. 23 "Whoever is convicted of speaking false witness shall be flung from the Tarpeian Rock."

  • VIII. 26 "No person shall hold meetings in the City at night.“

Struggle for equality
Struggle for equality

  • Plebeians continued to fight for equality.

  • 367 B.C.E. A new law said that one of the Roman consuls had to be a Plebeian

  • 287 B.C.E. the Plebeians gained the right to pass laws for all citizens. Now Plebeians could be in the Senate and the Tribunes power was increased.

  • After 200 years of struggle, the Plebeians had won their fight for equality.


  • Set of Basic Laws about a government

  • Rome was one of the first to form a Constitution

  • Rome’s Constitution would inspire future generations including the United States.

  • We would follow Rome’s lead with our own constitution, elected assemblies, checks and balance system, citizenship, and civic duty.

  • “The people’s good is the highest law.” Cicero


  • As a result of the “conflict of orders” between the Plebeians and the Patricians, Rome became an effective Republic and became more Democratic over time. Rome as a Republic would only last so long and would set its sight on the rest of the world and become a mighty empire.


  • “Once upon a time, the different parts of the human body were not all in agreement… And it seemed very unfair to the other parts of the body that they should worry and sweat away to look after the belly. After all, the belly just sat there… Doing nothing, enjoying all the nice things that came along. So they hatched a plot. The hands weren’t going to take food to the mouth; even if they did, the mouth wasn’t going to accept it… They went into sulk (stayed silent or to be in a bad mood) and waited for the belly to cry for help. But while they waited, one by one all the parts of the body got weaker and weaker. The moral of this story? The belly too has its job to do. It has to be fed, but it also does feeding of its own.”

    - LIVY