University of Phoenix
Tiberius Gracchus was a Roman statesman, whose concern for the common people led to his political downfall and death (msn.encarta). He attempted to enact a law that would limit the amount of land a person could own. Several senators were opposed to this law because they would have the most to lose. On one side, the senate viewed his actions an attempt to repair an unstable and weakening social system. It was viewed on the other side as nothing more than a power move on the Aristocrats ideas of the period. One must consider the conditions of Rome during this time. For the duration of the Punic Wars, the Roman Empire underwent several transformations, in which the Senate became the absolute power. The senate consisted of 300 senators who owned land and controlled elections and legislation. The senate was divided into two parties, the Optimaltes (“aristocrats”) and the Populares (“democrats”). The Optimates worked through the senate and traditional areas (wealthy people), while the Populares worked through the turbinate and popular assemblies (common people). When Tiberius retuned to Rome, after saving a Roman army, he became a champion for the common people. The recent conquest of Rome had launched many opportunities to new found wealth, but the sudden change opened more doors of corruption and wrongdoing. Tiberius saw an opportunity to achieve his own power, but also in stabilizing the inequality through modifying laws to benefit the common people. He was elected tribune of the people in 133 B.C., and obtained legislation providing for a more equal distribution of public lands between the smaller farmers. Tiberius introduced the land bill, Lex Agraria, which proposed to allocate land to landless citizens. Why would a member of a rich and politically powerful family want to fight for the poor? What would Tiberius have to gain by doing so? What was the outcome of this land bill? Tiberius was in office...
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