How the Roman Republic Fell: A Lesson from History

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History & Genealogy

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Benjamin Franklin once quipped that the United States would have “a republic…if you can keep it.” His warning was well informed: the authors of the US Constitution had taken as their model the ancient Roman Republic, which they admired as a remarkably stable form of government, but one—they knew—that had ultimately collapsed into a military dictatorship and monarchy. 


The strength of the Roman Republic was in the way it distributed political power, assigning responsibilities of government to different groups that could exercise checks and balances over each other. This talk will explore how the Republic’s institutions were eroded and ultimately broken, and how a state that had overcome all external challenges was ultimately destroyed from within.

Guest speaker Fred Drogula is the Charles J. Ping Professor of Humanities and a Professor of Classics at Ohio University and is the author of Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire and Cato the Elder: Life and Death at the end of the Roman Republic



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