While reading through Polybius’ account of the Roman Republican system and the United States Constitution, I began to notice that there seemed to be a variety of similarities and differences between the two forms of government. Polybius’ system was an interesting combination consisting of the three most popular forms of government: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. The “consuls” held supreme executive power; the “senate” was made up of wealthy and experienced citizens; and the “assembly” allowed each man to vote on policies and for magistrates. This system of government very much resembles our own Constitution in that each branch of government served as checks and balances for the other branches.
In a way, the three different branches can also be seen to resemble that of the United States Constitution’s Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. The consuls could be seen as similar to our position of President, although there were multiple figures involved instead of just one. The president has chief executive authority just like the consuls have in the Roman Republican system. The group of wealthy and experienced citizens can be compared to the judicial branch of the Constitution because they served as a system of judges to help sort out difficulties among the people. Additionally, the fact that the assembly allowed each man to vote on policies and magistrates resembles also resembles our form of democracy, a concept that is a great source of pride for Americans. This section of government allows the people to have a voice in their government.
After reviewing both of these systems of government, it is clear that Polybius’ account of the Roman Republican system likely had an impact on the decisions made by our founding fathers when it came to creating our own United States Constitution.