Fall of the Roman Empire

The key turning point towards the fall of the Republic was the year 133 BCE. This was when Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was elected as tribune. One historian wrote that this was when “daggers first entered the forum.”
Tiberius proposed to use state land occupied by the rich to redistribute to the poor citizens of Rome. He knew the Senate would not be happy with his proposal, so he untraditionally skipped the Senate and went straight to the Assembly, where the bill had a better chance of getting passed. The unhappy Senate bribed another tribune to veto the bill, but Gracchus impeached him, and the bill passed. However, when he ran for a second term as tribune (this was unheard of because Roman tradition was that a person could only hold one year in each office), he was murdered by a group of senators. His motive is not very clear. Some say that he was a bonafide social reformer, wanting to help the poor. Others say that he exploited the social distresses to gain more power.
Later, in 123 BCE, Tiberius’ brother Gaius, who was an ambitious reformer much like his brother, got elected as tribune. He proposed a legislation that gave cheap grain to the poor. Also, he gave rich business men (equites) control of the juries of the courts that tried Roman generals. This was meant to reduce corruption in the government, and it did to some degree. Now, corrupt generals could not rely on their senatorial friends to release them in the courts, but the equites could now threaten the governors with extortion to give them all the things they wanted. The equites was a new force in the politics of Rome, further weakening the Senate. Next, Gaius suggested to give Italian allies full Roman citizenship, which didn’t go so well with the majority of the Romans. They valued their citizenship because it was the only thing that made them feel superior to others. Therefore, an uprising broke out, and Gaius was assassinated.
At the second century BCE’s end, Gaius Marius rose to power. He...