HIST Lecture #8 9-15

HIST Lecture #8 9-15 - The Crisis of the Late Republic and...

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The Crisis of the Late Republic and the Imperial Solution Rome won the Punic Wars and imposed Carthaginian Peace , which was a very tough peace. As Rome becomes an empire, the burdens of empire create all sorts of problems for the Republican institution. How do Republics fare when they begin to assume the role of an empire? Ever since the United States has expanded, the Executive Branch has gained more and more power. Consequences of Roman Expansion Expansion undermined the value and ideals behind the foundation of Roman ideals. That citizens were supposed to completely devote themselves to the state. This deteriorated within commoners and nobility as well. There was greed and a strong drive for money. There were opportunities to pursue one’s own interests popping up everywhere. Where does this happen? Within the army itself. As Rome fights more and more wars, more and more non-Romans begin to join the Roman army as mercenaries. They looked at it as a job, not as citizenship. Soldiers began to feel more loyalty to their individual commanders than they did to the Republic. Generals brought their soldiers’ devotion back with them when they entered politics. Expansion also brought in an enormous influx of slaves (hundreds of thousands). Keith Bradley estimates that Rome became so dependent on slave labor, that it needed 50,000 to 100,000 new slaves each year to sustain its slave population. The Atlantic Slave Trade peaked at 60,000 slaves per year. One problem with this was the risk of slave revolt. Spartacus led a slave revolt in 73 BCE. These slaves put major pressure on small independent farmers and craftsmen who couldn’t compete with slave labor. Large estates utilizing slave labor called latifundia popped up. A large underclass of free Roman citizens emerged from these small farmers forced into cities. Slavery results in mass impoverishment for portions of Roman citizenry. These people felt that the Republic failed them and began to look at military figures and tyrants for new opportunities. Rich get richer, poor get poorer, middle class gets smaller.
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course HIST 151 taught by Professor Hunziker during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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HIST Lecture #8 9-15 - The Crisis of the Late Republic and...

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