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L10- Populist Politics and the Gracchi.docx

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Glenn Wilkinson

Populist Politics and the Gracchi 1. Populist politics in the 2 century BCE a) Introduction b)Scipio Africanus c) Scipio Aemilianus (Also called Africanus) d) Concluding remarks 2. The Gracchi a)Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (Tribune 133 BCE) b)Gaius Sempronius Gracchus (Tribune 123-122 BCE) 3. A new style of Politics? Optimates and Populares -Populis Politics- Appealing to popular opinion and using it as a political tool, to upset normal political process -Citizens had right to vote but really Elites organized it -Roman senators realized they could use populis politics to their advantage -e.g Scipio brothers became popular in Punic wars, therefore there was support for Scipio Africanus to take their place as senator, even though he didn’t have the right because he didn’t hold office; popular opinion allowed imperium to be granted to a citizen -e.g Scipio Aemilianus- adoptive grandson of Scipio Africanus. He was so popular that the people elected him consul in 147 although he didn’t qualify for office. It was opposed by everyone in senate but in the end they had to yield to public opinion. He was sent to Carthage and ended the third Punic war. In 142 he used popular support to win the office of Censor, this was also against the wishes of the nd senate. In 134 he was consul for 2 time, this was also un-constitutional, only allowed to hold it once, senate had to once again yield to public opinion -Senate no longer had firm grip on voting, legislation and policy -In 139 a law was passes that voting in the assemblies be done by secret ballot (proposed by Tribune of the Plebs), which meant people could vote what they wanted without the fear of the Aristocrats -Rise of Populis politics tells story of Gracchi… -Gracchi was two brothers (see above) who were grandsons of Scipio Africanus. They held great power of persuasion, Tiberius was elected tribune of the plebs in 133 BCE. While in office he produced land legislation that was controversial- to break up large rural estates and give some to landless poor Roman citizens -He wanted this law because small Roman father was a typical soldier, because slaves were taking over Farms they needed m
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