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Argument On Oligarchy

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Simonton’s argument on oligarchy as an ideological commitment to anti-democracy that was historically preserved by political institutions is a brand new scholarly theory. How does Beard’s historical account of the rise of the Republic maybe tell a story of an oligarchy trying to accommodate the popularity of popular government while still maintaining control? The rise of the Republic is poorly documented yet again by the Romans, Beard notes. The Roman mania for simplification hid much of what had happened; this simplification also arose from the fact that there were few records. Beard describes the political structure of the early Republic and looks at Barbatus as a primary example. His epitaph provides the first look at the transition…show more content…
Here is the forerunner to many political districts our governments use today. A little further on, this assembly was given binding power over the entire state - a momentous step. Moving forward, all major priesthoods and offices, even consul, despite determined resistance, were opened up to plebeians. Additionally, the enslavement for debts was abolished “establishing the principle that the liberty of a Roman citizen was an inalienable right” (148). Finally, the story of decemviri, with more classical Roman elements, concludes the gains of the…show more content…
. . is almost uniformly negative” (59). Additionally, Simonton notes that those in the oligarchy referred privately to their rule as an oligarchy; they seldom did so publicly. To me, the story of the Roman patricians granting political rights to the plebeians to maintain control fits with Simonton; however, at what point does this ‘control’ become a fiction? Where does the oligarchy end and democracy or the republic begin? The patricians granted concessions to the plebeians over a number of years; by the end, the political landscape drastically changed in a way that I think makes Simonton’s argument for oligarchy empty. My foremost disagreement is the end result: the republic. There was still a distinction between patrician and plebeian, but political offices were open to both. Additionally, oligarchy lost its battle; in trying to maintain control by making small concessions, it conceded itself as the government. The final political result of the Romans is a broad political class that in no way resembles an oligarchy. Oligarchy may exist as a phase of the government (there may be always an oligarchic impulse), but as rights are broadened, the oligarchy ceases to
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