Social Philosophy

Download Cicero's Social and Political Thought by Neal Wood PDF

By Neal Wood

During this shut exam of the social and political considered Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), Neal wooden specializes in Cicero's conceptions of country and govt, displaying that he's the daddy of constitutionalism, the archetype of the politically conservative brain, and the 1st to mirror greatly on politics as an task.

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T h e senate was the supreme governing council of the oligarchy, their instrument of state control consisting of the m o s t influential m a g nates and constantly renewing its membership from magistrates elected from the upper propertied classes. Traditionally, the senate had been able to manage the magistracy, and by the Ciceronian age it was still decisive in the spheres of religion, legislation, finance, and in the conduct of war and foreign affairs. Democracy in any very meaningful sense seems to have had little authentic part in the political system.

Fragmented, exploited, and excluded from any meaningful political role, they had become the instruments of the oligarchs in their internecine warfare. Constantly fighting with neighboring peoples for survival and lebensraum, the Roman state developed into a mighty war machine commanded by aristocratic landlords and manned by peasants. Rome, unlike Athens, was never a democracy, although severely limited popular participation perhaps helped maintain morale and strengthen social solidarity. As previously noted, notwithstanding popular elections and citizen assemblies, the R e p u b lic had always been and continued to be managed by a narrow if changing oligarchy of landed wealth and noble privilege.

Such mass transplantation was necessitated by the influx during the same period of some t w o million enslaved peasants and their families from abroad. As dictator, Caesar sought to relieve the plight of landless Italian peasants by resettlement, but he was careful not to harm the interests of the aristocracy. T h e acutencss of the p r o b lem was probably eased by the gradual profcssionalization of the army, thereby reducing the n u m b e r of returning veterans, and was ultimately resolved by the massive resettlement projects of Augustus and the early emperors.

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