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The Senate of the Roman Republic
Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism
by Robert C. Byrd, U.S. Senate Historical Office
- Format: hardcover, 207 pages
- Release date: March 17, 1995
- Author: Robert C. Byrd, U.S. Senate Historical Office
- Genres: politics
- Language: english
- ISBN: 9780160589966 (0160589967)
- Publisher: Senate Historical Office
About The Book
Senator Byrd reasoned that, “if the history of the Roman people helped to influence Montesquieu’s political philosophy concerning checks and balances and the separation of powers, and if Montesquieu’s political theory influenced our American forebears in their writing of the United States Constitution, then why can it not be said that the history of Rome and the Romans, as well as the history of England and Englishmen, influenced ‘the Constitution’s framers’.”
The Roman Senate had emerged as the mainstay of an extended struggle against executive authority for power to control the purse. For centuries, the Senate of ancient Rome was made up of “the wisest, the best educated, the most respected, most experienced, most vigilant, most patriotic men of substance in the Roman republic.” But “when the Roman Senate gave up its control of the purse strings, it gave away its power to check the executive. From that point on, the Senate declined… Once the mainstay was weakened, the structure collapsed and the Roman republic fell.”
Senator Byrd sees ample parallels between the willingness of Roman senators to hand over powers of the purse to usurping executives and the compliant attitude of United States senators in responding to presidential urging for a similar grant of powers in a line-item veto constitutional amendment.
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