Sunday, March 27, 2011

Democracy and Rome

While reading the earlier parts of chapter 11, a question arose that seemed to be staring me in the face: Where in Roman history, did the structure of the government consist of a democracy? During the classical period it formed a constitutional republic and eventually the nation became more autocratic, according to Wixipedia: ;-) Once the autocracy set in, Rome didn't establish set rules for a government budget and the senate was reduced to an "advisory cabinet" to the emperor.

It is interesting the angle Hayek takes by attributing the establishment of liberal ideology, or Democracy, to the classical period of Roman law. He seems to be attributing Democracy to the most successful ideals of freedom, but if this is true, then their best contributions to law would've come at the end of the empire. And the fall of Rome quickly followed, so I disagree that their Democratic leanings were the ideals that had established Roman law as the first to manufacture the writings of individual freedom, it was the writings of the common law and their formation of a senate, that created a system of individual freedom.

Another thought, Roman law also formed a Republic by a well mixed form of Democracy and Oligarchy, the oligarchy being stronger. This brings me to think that individual rights were represented in the oligarchic half (If that is a word, ha!) of the mix. What a brilliant idea!

I would like to know whether anyone has read this and has a different interpretation on it.

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