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In 509 B.C., Rome became a republic, a government in which power is controlled by the common people. It was under this Republic that Rome grew and expanded by conquest into the most powerful nation in the world at the time. As Roman territory increased, however, politicians and generals became more and more powerful and hungry for power. A series of events during the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C. led to the demise of the Roman Republic. Under the reigns of Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar, the Roman Empire was formed. The Empire was ruled by an emperor, who had complete control over his people. Power was no longer in the hands of the people . . . .
Under the Republic, senators were elected by the people to run the government. The vote of wealthy landowners counted for more than others and many elections were fixed by bribes. Extremely wealthy landowners, known as patricians, began to have more and more political power. Rich landowners and merchants were able to buy up most of the country land.
Caesar was elected consul in 60 B.C. He proposed laws that would gain the triumvirate even more power. When these laws were opposed, Crassus and Caesar resorted to violence and intimidation in order to get them passed. After a short time, the First Triumvirate began to crumble. Crassus was killed in battle in 53 B.C. Caesar, after his term as consul ended, was given a governorship of the area of southern France. Unheeding the word of the senate, Caesar raised his own army and led a path of conquest throughout all of Gaul.
After 8 years Julius Caesar returned. The senate was afraid that he might march on Rome with his loyal army. The senate’s fears proved correct. Pompey could not organize a counter offensive in time to save Rome, so he was forced to flee. Caesar marched into the city and appointed himself dictator. While the senate still existed, it was practically powerless against Caesar’s commands. The republic had died. While the senate still existed, it had little say in government matters and could certainly not challenge the word of the emperor. Ten Caesars came after Augustus to rule over Rome.
Excerpt from Hyperhistory.net