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What are the differences between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire?

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As a republic, Rome was ruled by a Senate and various executives. It was governed by two consuls and, later in the life of the republic, one praetor and then later still two. The Senate was known for being incredibly divided and was often unable to reach agreement. Since Rome was in a near constant state of war, the Senate was able to appoint a dictator who wielded near-absolute power for short periods of time. In theory, this allowed the republic to respond to crises quickly and then return to a governing system that that had checks against individual tyranny.

The Roman Republic was always an incredibly unequal system. Patricians, the elite, had special rights and powers for much of the Republic's existence. Other people living in Rome were divided between Plebs (free Roman citizens), non-citizens, who had further reduced rights, and slaves, who had no rights.

Rome became a formal empire when the Senate declared Julius Caesar a dictator without any limit on his term. The Senate...

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