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Word Count: 701
The contributions of the Roman heritage on the modern West cannot be overemphasized Even from ancient times the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire was regarded as a successful template for all of civilization The Romans had a superb ability to organize and administer to the needs of their citizens and also developed a tremendous legal system that is fundamentally in use even today In the early republic social divisions determined the shape of politics Political power was in the hands of the aristocracy the patricians They dominated the affairs of state provided military leadership in time of war and monopolized knowledge of law and legal procedure The common people the small farmers artisans and landless urban dwellers had few of the patricians advantages They did however have a voice in politics but were mostly overshadowed by the patricians One of the greatest institutions of the republic was the formation of the senate a council of noble elders who advised the king The creation of several assemblies through which laws and policy decisions were made provided the foundation for a structured government in Rome In comparing historical Roman political bodies to that of the present day United States it is easy to understand the influence that Roman history had on the framers of our own constitution and system of government The Roman s enate retains its name and also its function The Roman consuls relate to our countrys legislative assembly while a Roman praetor most closely resembles a judge or attorney The Roman system of law was one of the earliest in history to enforce the belief that all men were created equal and is the basis of modern civil law Roman law also established the precedent that the burden of proof weighed on the accuser creating the belief that someone is innocent until proven guilty It also stated that a person could not be punished for a thought but only an action They
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