Does a republic become obsolete?


Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
In many republics throughout history the quality of life has increased dramatically for the average citizen, not necessarily proportionally (i.e., the "gap" between the rich and the rest) and not for everybody (the underclass) - but for the majority. This usually leads to complacency. The civic responsibilities that Tuthmosis III addresses as necessary often dissipate. People enjoy their lifestyle and become oblivious, or easily persuaded, because being a sovereign civic minded citizen is hard work and sometimes requires the sacrifice which Bart Dale addresses: compromise and accepting defeat today gracefully and willingly.
Jan 2019
This information has all been incredibly informative. I appreciate the insight. Thank you all!

My question stemmed more from a very elementary understanding of Roman history during the era of Augustus. It almost makes him appear as a sort of savior to someone who may not understand the complete context. I did realize there was a lot of death in the wake of these events, but I assumed it was part of the time less part of the condition. It does make sense though after you consider the likely turn of events, the transition of power wouldn't come without a tremendous cost of life.

The explanation in regards to a republic going obsolete makes sense. Given any extent of degradation, all it requires is time for its eventual failure. That's such an easy way of looking at it. So, what we'd be looking for is a perfect form of government, which doesn't exist.
  • Like
Reactions: Olleus
Jun 2017
I think republics already reached this point. Hopelessly obsolete especially when you can't control the information that elects leaders. The main appeal of a republic though was never it's effectiveness, it's just a workable version of Democracy and an alternative that is perceived as safeguarding against worse autocratic systems. The people who trashed the response time of Democracy in the past were never actually wrong.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
off the top of my heads , here is the list of Republics and their fates , this is heavily Eurocentric ,

Athenes ... went for naval and military supremacy about her patch
was badly defeated by the aristocratic Sparta but maintained its institutions until quite late
Cities republics were quite common around the Mediterranean , they were either democratic , aristocratic , plutocracies or tyrannies
of note the Phoenicians merchant cities of which the most famous is Carthage ( aristocratic )

Rome as been expounded above

the 10th century Italians had plenty , with the same variant in their leadership
the most successful and long lived was Venice , an aristocracy
city states in the low countries , Germany and Baltic , usually run by rich merchants
eastern Europe Poland was a republic so was Novgorod and Pskov , a merchant or aristocratic senate elected their kings for one lifetime

Switzerland was a confederation of independent republics , quickly it was run by a coterie of rich families , the popular suffrage was nominal only

In all those , the main internal stressors was the struggle between the poors workers and the Rich families
with the lower and middling class turning to an autocrat to shake the oppression of the upper class
the external stressors was the predation of hereditary noble states , this made for a kaleidoscopic policies of alliance and betrayal

usually Republic failed unless they were large enough and strong enough to raise competent armies
this resulted in military commanders being a risk to the state , as was the case in Rome


Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
portland maine
I don't think there a singular form of government which is immune. I think there are circumstances which show that transitioning away from a republic proved beneficial to the country as a whole. I imagine it would need to be handled on a case by case basis.

In the case of Rome, an empire.
A republic is a compromise between having a more direct democracy or a "democracy": that is narrowly defined. I think of the founders fear of democracy becoming mob rule. as in the French revolution, To change the subject somewhat. Was the Chartist movement in England an attempt to maker the government more democratic and less a narrow republic?


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
  • a vote for all men (over 21)
  • the secret ballot
  • no property qualification to become an MP
  • payment for MPs
  • electoral districts of equal size
  • annual elections for Parliament
on could assume that the underlying motives were a push for popular democracy