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This is a good question and it is very much debated. In my view, he did not bring about the birth of the Roman Empire. He was just a part of the broader context that was moving towards a new form of government. A few points can be made to show this thesis.
First, starting from 133 B.C., it was clear that Rome was getting too big and the current political structure was not sufficient in running such a large state. For one thing - what was Rome to do with its veterans? The Gracchi brothers wanted to redistribute land and this caused great controversy, which lead to their death.
Second, the Gracchi were just the tip of the iceberg. Civil strife in Rome was just getting underway. Marius and Sulla faced each other in battle. After this Pompey and Caesar did the same, and I did not even mention the Social War (91-88 BC), which was very much another civil war.
In light of all this bloodshed, a new solution was needed. Caesar just happened to be there when things began to change. However, it is important to note that he died in 44 BC. Therefore, no one knows what he would have done. For this reason, it might be best to say that his son, Octavian started the Empire.
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