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The Breakdown of the Republic by Thomas Humphrey The Romans built one of the most extensive empires in the history of the world The fall of a republican system to a dictatorship was gradual and was brought about by many different factors One major aspect which was vital to the breakdown was the advent of physical force into the political arena This violence or imposed violence for political gain caused instability and paved the way for an extended period of civil war which ended in a dictatorship The seeds of political turmoil were planted by Tiberius and Gauis Gracchi The violence they evoked was continued by Marius and Sulla and finally brought upon Rome by Julius Caesar Tiberius Gracchus was one of the first political figures to exercise overt violence and was the first step towards the breakdown of the republic The military was the cause of many of the problems faced by Rome at that time A man was required to serve for twenty campaigns during his lifetime and typically left for war aged twenty and returned as an old man These men who were traditionally farmers lost the property to neglect or had little or no motivation to work This caused legions of unemployed veterans who lived off the governments dole bread Tiberius solution to this problem was to give away large tracts of land to war veterans Naturally the senate opposed this land bill as it would feed upon the patricians wealth Tiberius then ran for tribune used his power to try and pass the bill Tiberius could be stopped by another tribune vetoing his actions but he arranged for the opposing tribune to be dragged out of the forum by his supporters at the critical moment This land act was passed This marks the first use of direct force for political gain The senate then fuelled this violence by responding to this circumvention with the murder of
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