Cicero's Social and Political Thought by Neal Wood

By Neal Wood

During this shut exam of the social and political considered Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), Neal wooden makes a speciality of Cicero's conceptions of nation and executive, exhibiting that he's the daddy of constitutionalism, the archetype of the politically conservative brain, and the 1st to mirror broadly on politics as an job.

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T h e exploited peasantry, aroused at the end of the second century by the Gracchi, Marius, and Saturninus, and re- Ciceroni an Society 37 sorting to arms in support of Catiline's brief, abortive insurrection, apparently longed for little m o r e than land and a livelihood. Peasant dispersal by constant resettlement, the absence of a p h y s ical concentration and close ties so characteristic of an urban p o p ulace, and, after the Gracchi, the lack of an enlightened leadership were all obstacles to the generation of a revolutionary consciousness.

Such was the beginning of the Second Civil War. Unlike the struggle in the eighties, it embraced the whole of the Empire, ending with the defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus in Greece in 48 and his subsequent assassination in Egypt. War, however, continued between Caesar and the partisans of Pompey until 45. Caesar, ruling as dictator from 49 until his assassination in 44, avoided behaving as Sulla had done in the eighties. He showed extraordinary generosity and moderation toward his enemies and minimized popular reforms, adopting a policy designed to win friends a m o n g the ruling class.

The convening and presiding magistrate had the sole right to introduce legislation, which could neither be discussed nor amended. Not only were relatively few laws actually passed by the popular assemblies throughout their his- 26 Cicero's Social and Political Thought tory, but also, at least since the Second Punic War, the proportion of the total of qualified citizens actually able to vote was minute. R o m a n expansion t h r o u g h o u t Italy and the Mediterranean world meant that attendance was confined mainly to those living in the metropolis or the nearby countryside.

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