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The problems that led to the fall of the Roman Republic

The Roman Republic had three major problems.

1. Rome needed money to pay the legions, to build roads, sewers, aqueducts, and arenas, and to pay for the welfare programs that fed the poor. To raise this money, Rome created a system called tax farmers. A tax farmer was a person who bought the right from the Senate to tax all the people and businesses in a certain area. The senate didn't say how much taxes were, or who got taxed. They left all that up to the tax farmer.

Tax farming was a business, and the tax farmers were in it to make a profit. While most Romans were willing to pay taxes, many of the tax farmers went too far. Since the tax farmer decided who got taxed and who didn't, people bribed them for lower taxes or to tax competitors out of business. If a Roman citizen didn't pay their taxes at whatever amount the tax farmer set, the entire family could be sold into slavery.

Even with the tax farmer system, the Roman government wasn't raising enough money.

2. Elected officials were corrupt. Under Roman law a candidate could pay someone to vote for him, so rich people could buy their way into the senate. Since the tax farmer bought the position from the Senate, the Senate set the amount it cost and decided who actually got the job. Construction companies bribed the Senate to win construction contracts. Since the Senate made all the laws, people could bribe senators to pass laws that they wanted. The Government of the Republic was rife with corruption.

3. Rome was riddled with crime. There was no police force to stop criminals. Wealthy Romans hired guards and even built their own small armies to protect their homes and families. Problems arose if the guards of one wealthy family fought the guards of another family over insults or business territories. The Senate was powerless since there was no money to hire police or even create a militia.

There were additional problems in Rome. Senators didn't trust each other or the legions. They even passed laws making it illegal for a legion to enter Rome. The people of Rome wanted the problems solved and corruption to end. Julius Caesar told the people of Rome that he could solve Rome's problems.


Source: The problems that led to the fall of the Roman Republic
All Rights Reserved Written by Lin Donn

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