Everything started with the Roman Republic, established in 501 B.C. as a style of government that centuries later the fledgling USA and European nations would look toward. Checks and balances on power, impeachment, trial by jury, and the election by citizens of representatives to rule with the person are concepts of Roman law. To comprehend how this democratic ideal morphed right into a dictator-ruling empire, paving just how for the initial Roman emperor, its vital to understand who came before: Julius Caesar.
A crafty and ambitious Roman general and politician who quickly rose through the ranks of the Republic, Gaius Julius Caesar set his sights on becoming among the Roman Senates two consulssimilar to presidents. To get elected, he formed an alliancethe First Triumviratewith Marcus Licinius Crassus, Romes richest man; and Pompey, Romes leading general (it had been sealed by the marriage between Caesars daughter Julia to Pompey). It worked, sufficient reason for their support, Caesar was elected senior Roman consul in 59 B.C. Together, the trio ensured no step will be taken by the federal government that didn’t suit their needs. Caesar enacted land reforms that allotted land to Pompeys veterans, and altered the tax code, which mollified Crassus supporters.