Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

ARISTOCRACY.                                        15
were qualified by their offices for admission into the senate;
and who sought to secure offices at home, proconsulships
abroad, and other ways of getting honor and fortune. This
party was represented by the senate ; it contained men of
plebeian families like the Licinii to which Crassus belonged,
as well as of patrician like the Fabii and ^Emilii, who by their
position, connections, and wealth were able, for the most
part, to engross the honors and emoluments of the state.
The senate thus composed became an oligarchical council,
seeking principally the advantages of its members, and of
their friends, On the other hand there grew up a new popu-
lar party, for which the tribunes of the people formed a natu-
ral head, and on many occasions resisted the measures of the
administrative organ with demagogical arts and violence.
The division thus caused, was intensified when prominent
men like Marius and Sulla, Caisar and Pompey, in their own
personal interest, and engaged in strife with one another,
enlisted senate and people on the two sides. The later phases
of these factions were low and disgraceful, and it seemed to
be a necessary downfall when a member of a patrician family,
which had never been very eminent in the state, sided with
the people and overthrew the senate. The series of revolu-
tions now closed consisted of monarchy of the old heroic sort,
a rigid aristocracy, a commonwealth or republic containing
an oligarchy, a tyranny in the form of imperial power, ac-
cepted by senate and people, and absorbing into itself the
authority of the highest magistrates. These changes were in
kind similar to those which many little Greek states had
passed through before, but now they appear on a vast scale,
in a state which had conquered the world.
In what follows we propose to confine ourselves simply to
three points ; to the senate as the organ of a class ; to changes
iti political rights by which the plefas became one with the
aristocracy; and to those changes which brought limitations
into the power of the consuls, both by positive restrictions
and by dividing up the functions of government amoag a
number of magistrates,