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 viva la republic!!!!

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PostSubject: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:24 am

was reading somewhere that the longest republic in history lasted 300 years.

given that the US is about 200 years does that mean we should expect and plan for:
a) the rise of the American Empire a la rome (to ceasar and augustus) and france (to napoleon) and germany (to hitler)
b) the collapse of the republic to outside forces a la france (to germany) and athens.

are republics the most stable form of political structure, do monarchies or aristocracies last longer and provide greater stability?

on a complete side note, the "thought of the day" for my calender today was:
So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable. -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)


spooky or what (i came up with this topic walking into work this morning)!
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:43 am

I think the roman republic lasted about 600 years, from the overthrowing of King Tarquin? in c.590BC to just before 0BC.

But I believe republics are the best form of administration of a nation. Not the most stable and certainly a lot harder work for everyone.

The trouble with republics is that with so many people having a say, the broth is regularly spoiled, if you know what I mean.

Interesting what Huxley said. Isn't Napoleon sometimes categorised as a Caesarist? Good topic Zakalwe.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:18 pm

What monarchies were as extensive as Republics in terms of land-area and lasted as long as 600 years and governed the numbers the Roman system governed? I'd make a stab and say that Republics by their nature are more stable because potentially anyone in a Republic can become an "elected King" - the problems might be in getting things done.

Societies possibly need fear or some such strong emotions (ideals?) or outside factors to drive them - often conquest but sometimes respect directed towards regal-like characters which is directly related to religion. Res Publica have no such claim to divine right in order to stimulate their citizens so other bogeymen or ideals arise in my opinion - the Communist ideal, Environmental catastrophe, Nationalism.

Otherwise what else do we have allegiance to? Money?
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:18 pm

didn't rome's expansion under caesar (to egypt, france and switzerland) happen under a dictatorship when rome was a republic in name only?
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:30 pm

zakalwe wrote:
didn't rome's expansion under caesar (to egypt, france and switzerland) happen under a dictatorship when rome was a republic in name only?


The "parliamentary monarchy" in the United Kingdom is a bit of a fudge, but has lasted. There are signs that more people there are wanting a Republic in recent years.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:49 pm

zakalwe wrote:
didn't rome's expansion under caesar (to egypt, france and switzerland) happen under a dictatorship when rome was a republic in name only?
I don't know much about Rome to be honest but wasn't there a Senate and other organs for decision-making? Other systems that ran into brick wall fairly quickly were Napoleon and Hitlers regimes. Could a lot of the lasting effect of the colonisation effort depend on how equal in strength the society you are invading is to you and how much your society wants to colonise? Napoleon was dealing with equals in power and strength, more or less. Rome lasted a while once it was expanding but then ran out of energy.

Does anyone know what kind of set up the Chinese had back then? Their dynasties lasted ages - was it all proportional to the fears they had of their place getting invaded by Mongols, even Romans? Were the Chinese aware of the Romans?
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:03 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
didn't rome's expansion under caesar (to egypt, france and switzerland) happen under a dictatorship when rome was a republic in name only?
I don't know much about Rome to be honest but wasn't there a Senate and other organs for decision-making? Other systems that ran into brick wall fairly quickly were Napoleon and Hitlers regimes. Could a lot of the lasting effect of the colonisation effort depend on how equal in strength the society you are invading is to you and how much your society wants to colonise? Napoleon was dealing with equals in power and strength, more or less. Rome lasted a while once it was expanding but then ran out of energy.

Does anyone know what kind of set up the Chinese had back then? Their dynasties lasted ages - was it all proportional to the fears they had of their place getting invaded by Mongols, even Romans? Were the Chinese aware of the Romans?

the senate still existed but all power lay with the triumvarate of caesar, pompeii and crassus iirc. i.e rome was a republic in name only.


as far as i know, there's no official record that the chinese empire and the roman empire knew of eachother. tho that may be due to a crazy chinese emperor burning all records pre him so as to "restart" history.

the romans (or was it the greeks) had a name for the "eastern empire" - cathay. but maps etc (pliny the elder) only showed darkness east of india.

commerce existed between the empires (as evidenced by silk imported into the roman empire) but the persians (who were aware of both) did not encourage communication. in fact, there was a story of a chinese general sent by the chinese emperor to find the western empire. they were 2 days from the roman empire's borders when the persian guides (realising what they wanted) told them that the empire was as far away again as they were from the chinese empire. aparently despairing, they turned back.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:16 pm

zakalwe wrote:

the romans (or was it the greeks) had a name for the "eastern empire" - cathay. but maps etc (pliny the elder) only showed darkness east of india.

commerce existed between the empires (as evidenced by silk imported into the roman empire) but the persians (who were aware of both) did not encourage communication. in fact, there was a story of a chinese general sent by the chinese emperor to find the western empire. they were 2 days from the roman empire's borders when the persian guides (realising what they wanted) told them that the empire was as far away again as they were from the chinese empire. aparently despairing, they turned back.
That's cool - it's like something out of sci-fi/fantasy .. Much scope for a fertile imagination to run free across the steppes there ...
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:22 pm

Don't forget slavery lads - every long lasting republic required slavery to give the plutocrats the time and the wealth to indulge in political life.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:54 pm

No no no!

I'm not losing another thread to waffle about ancient Rome. Let's keep this in the twentieth century. I think it was E.P. Thompson who defined the Cold War as the dichotomy between stability on the Soviet side and Freedom on the Western side. Which of course means that the USSR was unfree and the West was (relatively) unstable.

A more recent example which comes to mind is Somalia, which lately enjoyed some peace under the Islamists. The dichotomy there is between a stable and peaceful(ish) Islamic government, with all the oppression and old school sharia law that that entails, or the state of anarchy the country is currently subject to, with no stability but no constricting laws. This is a country that regularly makes the news for acts of piracy; can you think of anything more lawless?

The United States, in a move that mirrors much of their foreign policy, was supporting the Somali warlords. The idea was to oppose any Islamic government, thus they promote freedom/instabiity over Islamic stability/oppression. Compare to Iraq and especially Afghanistan.

All in all, I think the monarchy/dictator/autocrat model more stable than the republic/democratic model, the virtue of which lies in its change over potential stagnation.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:06 pm

905 wrote:
All in all, I think the monarchy/dictator/autocrat model more stable than the republic/democratic model, the virtue of which lies in its change over potential stagnation.
Well that's it, change. Autocracies of any shape might be better at change - Singapore is run by someone who is dictatorial and that City State has proved to be, at first glance, a very successful arrangement and even something as big as China might prove very adaptive in the long run.

Is it sometimes simply necessary to dictate? The trick might be to know exactly when...
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:33 pm

and to walk the fine line of dictating while allowing your public to think they live in a republic (thereby ensuring no revolutions!)
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:30 pm

zakalwe wrote:
and to walk the fine line of dictating while allowing your public to think they live in a republic (thereby ensuring no revolutions!)
Democratic People's Republic of Korea - North Korea. North Korea's so stable their leader is a dead man. If that's not stagnant I don't know what is.
Islamic Republic of Iran - emphasis on 'Islamic'.
People's Republic of China - That one used to cause me great confusion as a child.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:15 pm

Living in a Republic can be no fun, creating a Republic can be a real hoot, not to mention a boomtime for brick wall producers. Beware the people 'who read de books'.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:46 pm

lukedelmege wrote:
Living in a Republic can be no fun, creating a Republic can be a real hoot, not to mention a boomtime for brick wall producers. Beware the people 'who read de books'.

I take it you would have been refering to a salutory lesson from Rod Steiger
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:48 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
905 wrote:
All in all, I think the monarchy/dictator/autocrat model more stable than the republic/democratic model, the virtue of which lies in its change over potential stagnation.
Well that's it, change. Autocracies of any shape might be better at change - Singapore is run by someone who is dictatorial and that City State has proved to be, at first glance, a very successful arrangement and even something as big as China might prove very adaptive in the long run.

Is it sometimes simply necessary to dictate? The trick might be to know exactly when...

Funnily enough, the superiority of benevolent dictatorship was the eventual conclusion that the Greek cities cam to, and the model that the majority followed.

Edo wrote:
Don't forget slavery lads - every long lasting republic required slavery to give the plutocrats the time and the wealth to indulge in political life.

I'd say that was only because slavery was the industrial workforce of the era - the important bit is the wealth and time. In order to have a political class in an elective system, we need some people to have the time and money (in a republic, this is personal wealth) to compete for office, and to want to do so. To get the citizens involved, they too will require a level of leisure time and education, as well as some motivation. If it is difficult for citizens to have any impact on national policy, and there is no meaningful local engagement, there will be disenfranchisement and disillusion - something I think we see in Ireland, where the powers of local government have been stripped by the centre, and the powers of local politicians stripped away by the Cabinet.

On the OP, the Roman Republic lasted with various changes for 450 years (which gives the US quite a while), and was eventually subverted rather than destroyed (I strongly recommend Rubicon). The Most Serene Republic of Venice lasted at least 750 years before Napoleon conquered it, which gives the US until the middle of this millennium (I recommend Venice by John Julius Norwich).

Republics probably owe their stability to the recognition of the power of the upper levels of society (whether defined by blood or money), while allowing participation of the lower levels to the extent they feel like it (often relatively little). Most systems of government are forced to make such a compromise eventually, but republics formally recognise it.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:34 am

Does San Marino not trump allcomers?
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:48 am

riadach wrote:
Does San Marino not trump allcomers?

Well, you learn something new every day, if you're not careful.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:08 am

zakalwe wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
didn't rome's expansion under caesar (to egypt, france and switzerland) happen under a dictatorship when rome was a republic in name only?
I don't know much about Rome to be honest but wasn't there a Senate and other organs for decision-making? Other systems that ran into brick wall fairly quickly were Napoleon and Hitlers regimes. Could a lot of the lasting effect of the colonisation effort depend on how equal in strength the society you are invading is to you and how much your society wants to colonise? Napoleon was dealing with equals in power and strength, more or less. Rome lasted a while once it was expanding but then ran out of energy.

Does anyone know what kind of set up the Chinese had back then? Their dynasties lasted ages - was it all proportional to the fears they had of their place getting invaded by Mongols, even Romans? Were the Chinese aware of the Romans?

the senate still existed but all power lay with the triumvarate of caesar, pompeii and crassus iirc. i.e rome was a republic in name only.



The Romans basically made most of their expansion in the mediteranean while being a proper republic. After destroying Carthage in 150BC it was really just a mopping up operation - but a very profitable one at that. Politicians wanted to be appointed to military posts because there was a bananza in loot and slaves to be made. The most famous of these generals was Julius Caesar. In the last century the republic became corrupt. The idea was that you took out loans to pay to get elected to consul for a year. Then you got assigned a provincewhich yuou could use as a base to attack other foreign tribes/nations and make millions of secterces. That was because civil law was cofnined only to the city of Rome. Once rich you repaid your debts and used your creatures through bribes to control the republic. The problem is everyone was at it and eventually civil wars started breaking out.
Augustus identified the election of representatives and clientalism to be the problem and ended the whole thing by starting the empire. Except he never called it that. In 27BC he devised the Imperial system by telling the senate that he was restoring the republic. All the old republican forms and positions were kept but given to him "temporarily". Officially there was no emperor just the private citizen Augustus who amassed all the poistions. He did however remove the democratic elements.Once an empire there was little expansion, the system stagnated and went into a slow decline which lasted about 5 centuries.


The state contnued to be called the republic however, and even when the Western Empire fell in 476, the senate continued to exist, although more as a city council. Indeed to this day the municipality of Rome still uses SPQR which was the republic's official name.
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:21 am

Quote :
In the last century the republic became corrupt. The idea was that you took out loans to pay to get elected to consul for a year. Then you got assigned a provincewhich yuou could use as a base to attack other foreign tribes/nations and make millions of secterces. That was because civil law was cofnined only to the city of Rome. Once rich you repaid your debts and used your creatures through bribes to control the republic. The problem is everyone was at it and eventually civil wars started breaking out.
Credit wars at the end of the life of the Republic? Oh no ...
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:04 pm

who are the barbarians at the gate then?
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:12 pm

zakalwe wrote:
who are the barbarians at the gate then?

Not for another 400 years. If the cycle repeats itself(which it wont exactly of course, but what the hell) then we are only at the cusp of the transition to empire.
The democratic system and the free market will be considered to be too dangerous to be allowed exist without control and we'll fall under the power of a benevolent oligarchy/dictatorship which will attempt to keep us happy and distracted, but of course powerless. When the monolithic system decays its back to the barbarians who will deregulate/cause chaos and break it up.
Who could they be? The poor, the hungry and the outsiders who have nothing to lose. Africa?
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:35 pm

Respvblica wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
who are the barbarians at the gate then?

Not for another 400 years. If the cycle repeats itself(which it wont exactly of course, but what the hell) then we are only at the cusp of the transition to empire.
The democratic system and the free market will be considered to be too dangerous to be allowed exist without control and we'll fall under the power of a benevolent oligarchy/dictatorship which will attempt to keep us happy and distracted, but of course powerless. When the monolithic system decays its back to the barbarians who will deregulate/cause chaos and break it up.
Who could they be? The poor, the hungry and the outsiders who have nothing to lose. Africa?

i would have said northsiders, but africa seems logical too!
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PostSubject: Re: viva la republic!!!!   Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:04 pm

Deregulation, disintegration of government? Paulites?
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viva la republic!!!!
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