Indigenous Populations in Republican Rome Ca 500 Essay

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Indigenous populations in Republican Rome (ca. 500 BCE -- 31 BCE)

Citizenship in colonial era

IV Comparison and Contrast

The issues citizenship of indigenous populations in the Roman Republic and during the colonial era in Europe provides comprehensive information regarding how the indigenous populations were treated by Europeans. The right to get justice and to self-determine their politico-social life is the main issues that political philosophy is confronted with (Kabeer, 2002). The internationalization and globalization phenomenon has increased the debate on the issue as the indigenous population demands the rights that only citizenship status grants to individuals. Respect and rights are demanded by the indigenous populations and these are accompanied with obligations as well, that being argued by the nation states and expansionist regimes. Citizenship has been regarded as a humane word with plethora of rights and obligation associated to it. The Roman Republic is considered as a spearhead of democracy (North, 1990) and having clear jurisdictions of rights and obligations. The grant of full and half citizenship was nonetheless an important issue for the indigenous populations that were affected by the Roman expansion. The colonists also, for long enough time, did not grant equal rights to their subjects, the vast colonies of Africa, Americas, and Asia that colonists used to their economic advantage. Therefore, all important issues of inclusion and exclusion of citizens and the grant of rights to ingenious populations by respective regimes forms the main part of discussion in this paper. Australia is also one such place where immigrants have went in number son recent years. The issue of aboriginal has significantly been discussed in academic and government quarters regarding their citizenship (Acemoglu, Johnson & Robinson, 2003).

The paper will be divided into sub-segments. Part II will highlight the indigenous populations that Romans came across during the expansion of Empire and how these populations were included or excluded from citizenship. Same analysis for the colonial era will also be made part of the third section of this paper. Part IV will compare and contrast the issues of inclusion and exclusion for indigenous population in Roman Republic and colonial era. It will also include a critique of these comparisons and contrasting elements. The paper will be concluded in part VI.

Indigenous populations in Republican Rome (ca. 500 BCE -- 31 BCE)

There were number of indigenous populations that were conquered by the Roman Republic whilst on the expansionary course. The fundamental issues that these populations, isolated ethnic minorities faced were regarding the preservation of their culture, their economic life, and their right to the properties in which they lived since centuries. Equality is the paramount notion that comes to mind regarding 'citizenship'. Race and gender have been predominant factors that have enabled the elites to exclude the indigenous people from their right to their properties and the lives they live.

Tiny majorities have significantly ruled the 'indigenous majorities' in African (Stone, 1988) and Asian regions, of late. Equality of legal power and the equality of political power were the concerns for the indigenous population coming under the rule of Roman Republic. These concerns were shared largely by the general population living under the Roman rule. The main aspects of Roman citizenship during the Roman Republic government (ca. 500 BCE -- 31 BCE) were:

The right to vote known as Suffragium in Roman Republic

The right to make contracts was known as commercium

The right to for a legal marriage was known as conubium

On the other hand there many obligations as well that bound the citizens to pay taxes and complete specified tenure in the military service. These attributed of being a citizen were also practiced in the Greek empire and were carried forward to the Romans with more modifications and complexities added. The status of Roman legionary was granted to the citizens only.

The citizenship was also given to people having their birth in Roman Empire with the condition that both the father and mother belonged to Rome. Only then was a person a natural citizen of Rome. The citizenship was denied to children being born out of conubium. The child adopted the status of mothers' citizenship. Latini people were granted limited rights of citizenship despite being granted the status of citizen. There was slavery as well and the children born to mother and father of non-native origin, the child could be taken as a slave. These notions of citizenship may be perceived as abolished in today's world but considerable impediments still exist for developing a 'global citizenship'. In Europe, there are many difficulties being faced by the immigrants and the United Nations usually presses the EU states to liberalize their immigration and asylum policies to avoid a humanitarian crisis. Citizenship having full rights was also granted to men of other than Roman origins that served as auxiliary troops. The Empire granted these citizenship rights to indigenous population where they served in the military or cause of the Empire.

Citizenship in colonial era

Voting rights coupled with other basic human rights have usually been acquired by the colonized territories after much struggle. Despite an overemphasis on the 'global citizenship' these days, there remain considerable hurdles in developing a citizenship that is global in nature. The colonies, may those be French, British, or American, have been granted the citizenship rights after several sacrifices by the ethnic and indigenous populations. Fig 1 displays how the voting rights of being American citizen were granted.

Fig 1 Voting Rights in American Colonies

Source: (

The colonies of Latin America were dominated by the influence of Catholic Church.

IV Comparison and Contrast

The ideas and notions regarding citizenship were greatly shaped by the Greeks and later carried forward by the Roman Republic. It is evident that there were sharp contrast between citizenship rights that were practiced in the Roman Republic and those in the colonial era. The colonial era was marred by excessive subjugation of those being ruled. Africa is an example whose territory was used for the economic gains. There were considerable restrictions on Africans carrying out trade unilaterally and this remained until late when the colonies revolted against the colonial master such as France and Britain (Acemoglu, Johnson & Robinson, 2003). Algeria is an example where France as a colonial power did not provide the basic citizenship rights until late. The only benefit that subjects of colonies received were their association to a greater power. This association was used when wars broke out and the colonial masters had to gather support, men, and materials from their colonies.

On the other hand, Roman Republic was also accustomed to using the citizenship rights a means of further strengthen the hold of empire. The republic displayed an effective mechanism to safeguard the right of minorities but they were also faced with such issues as granting rights to the subjects (Fantham, 2005), people who came into the fold of empire while expanding the borders. It is observed that Roman Republic also granted the rights of citizenship when there were turbulent times and war times were specifically used to relax the terms of citizenship for the indigenous populations.

The law of Twelve Tables was the first written law by the Roman Republic. The British colonies were also provided with the legal structures once there was a compelling need for such framework by the indigenous societies that came under their rule. Britain kept ruling the Asian colonies long without having granted least of the rights to their subjects. The laws that governed the citizenship of their subjects were always evolved as a process and not as an n outcome being preconceived by the rulers. Roman Republic provided much of the citizenship rights to their natural citizens while negating many rights of citizenship to the indigenous population coming under their rule. These populations however did struggle, both…[continue]

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