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Posted on July 31st, 2012, by

Ironically, the development of ancient Rome was accompanied by consistent transformation of the Roman state from a monarchy, ruled by kings, to the republic, where the Senate ruled, and back to the monarchy or principate, where the Roman emperor concentrated all the power in his hands and controlled the life of the entire Roman Empire. In this respect, the 1st century BC, especially the rule of Julius Caesar, became the turning point in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. At the same time, the impact of the Roman civilization was so significant that contemporary superpowers, such as the US, are compared to ancient Rome and prospects of the transformation of modern superpowers from democratic to tyrannical states is a subject of heat discussions among specialists (Mead, 219).

On analyzing the transformation that took place in ancient Rome in the mid-1st century BC and the following epoch, it should be said that the transformation of Rome from the republic into empire was determined by several factors.

First of all, the consistent territorial expansion contributed consistently to profound changes in the socio-economic and political life of Rome. In this respect, the contribution of Julius Caesar to the territorial expansion of Rome can hardly be underestimated because he conquered Gaul tribes and got huge financial resources, which allowed him to bribe politicians in Rome and promote himself as a leading politician. At the same time, he needed the constant support of the Senate to maintain his consulship, the position which legally allowed him to lead the army and control Gaul as a Roman province.

At the same time, his military success contributed to his growing popularity and large support of Roman plebs and urban poor. At this point, it is necessary to underline a considerable role of the army in the raise of the empire, because, in actuality, Roman army grew more and more professional and soldiers serving in the army were devoted to their commanders-in-chief. No wonder, legions, who struggled under the command of Caesar, supported him, when he actually rebelled against the Senate and moved his legions to Rome. In fact, army became a powerful instrument in hands of Roman emperors which gave them power and allowed to maintain the total control over the empire.

In addition, considerable socioeconomic changes, especially the growth of large farms which used slave labor naturally stimulated military campaigns, which, in their turn, were the main source of the labor force, i.e. slaves (Bradley, 174). In such a way, there was a vice circle: Roman economy needed slaves that stimulated military campaigns and conquest, the latter implied the use of large army, which, in its turn, could be and was used by Julius Caesar as well as his follower to take the political power in the country and to become an emperor, or dictator.

In this respect, it is possible to compare the Roman Empire to the modern US, since the latter heavily relies on the military power, which is actually under the control of the US President (Mead, 199). Potentially, it could give the President a chance to initiate a military coup-d’état, which though is hardly probably in the US, because the President, being a head of the executive power, is under the control of the legislative power, i.e. the US Congress, and the judicial power. In addition, the public opinion is of the utmost importance in the US and Americans are devoted to democratic principles. Thus, the transformation of the US from a democratic state into a totalitarian state headed by a dictator is hardly probable.

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