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Ancient History Sourcebook

The Roman Republic: Checks and Balances

American System -- based on balance of powers/functions






Supreme Court

Note: The only legitimate interest is that of the people

Roman System -- based on balance of interests




2 Consuls
+ other magistrates


Assembly of Tribes


Directed government and army

Acted as judges

Could issue edicts

Acted as chief priest

Controlled state budget

Could pass laws

Approved/rejected laws

Decided on War

Tribune could veto actions of magistrate

Acted as final court

Basis of power:

possess imperium, the right to rule

need for leadership

Basis of power:

members were richest men in Rome.

Basis of power:

provided most of the soldiers

Limits on power:

one year term

each could veto

Limits on power:

could not control army

needed majority as soldiers.

Limits on power:

Could not suggest laws

often paid as clients by the elite


Chart by Paul Halsall

This text is part of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to ancient history. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. No representation is made about texts which are linked off-site, although in most cases these are also public domain. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, August 2000

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© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall, created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 3 May 2024 [CV]