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Great Republics: Lessons From History

ID : 7520   
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For nearly all of human history, political power has inevitably concentrated. Through the centuries, the dominant governmental form has been Autocracy, domination by a single powerful ruler. History provides us with just a handful of instances in which this tendency has been counteracted, through application of often elaborate strategies to ensure that power be more broadly distributed. At a time when Democracy appears to be under threat around the globe, this course undertakes to examine and evaluate such strategies employed by the principal Republics that managed to endure and thrive for considerable periods. Unlike Monarchy, which traditionally has operated on the principle of random hereditary succession, Democracy has never been an accident.


1) Roman – 509–27 BCE Imperial Republic 
Consuls and the Roman Senate – Plebes versus Patricians
Tribunes and the Plebian Assemblies – The Twelve Tables of Law

2)  Florentine – 1115–1532  Renaissance Republic
Commercial Environment – Role of the Merchant Guilds
Distributed Wealth yielding Distributed Power – Civic Art

3)  Venetian – 810–1797  Aristocratic Republic
La Serenissima: History’s most stable and durable Republic
Great Council/Senate/Doge – Institutional Safeguards

4)  French – 1792– Present  Revolutionary Republics
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité! – Declaration of the Rights of Man
French National Assembly – Successive Modifications
5)  British – 1642–Present  Parliamentary Republic
Stuart Dynasty attempt at Absolutism – The Glorious Revolution
The Two-Party System – Popular Agitation for Voting Reform

6)  American – 1789–Present  Constitutional Republic
United States – Framing the Constitution – The Bill of Rights
Executive/Legislative/Judicial – The Separation of Powers

Class Details

6 Sessions
Weekly - Tue

Lark Hall

Bruce Elliott 



Registration Closes On
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 @ 12:00 AM

Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s) Instructional Method
3/26/2019 - 4/30/2019 Weekly - Tue 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Santa Rosa, Lark Hall  Map, Room: 2004 Bruce Elliott  ClassRoom