How Did Rome Influence Our Government?

By Robert Palmer

When it comes to the development of modern governments, ancient Rome has had a profound influence. The Roman Republic, which later transformed into the Roman Empire, left behind a legacy that shaped the way governments function today. Let’s delve into how Rome influenced our government.

The Roman Republic: A Model for Representative Government

The Roman Republic, established in 509 BCE, is often regarded as one of the earliest examples of representative government. Unlike previous systems where power was concentrated in the hands of a few, Rome introduced a system where elected officials represented and made decisions on behalf of the people.

This concept of representative government laid the groundwork for modern democratic systems. In fact, the foundation of many democratic principles such as checks and balances, separation of powers, and public participation can be traced back to Roman governance.

Roman Law: The Basis for Legal Systems

The Romans were renowned for their legal system and their contribution to jurisprudence. The development of law in Rome was characterized by codification and adherence to principles such as equality before the law and protection of private property.

Roman law forms the basis for many legal systems around the world today. Civil law systems prevalent in continental Europe, Latin America, and parts of Asia draw heavily from Roman legal principles. Even common law systems found in English-speaking countries have been influenced by Roman legal concepts.

Infrastructure and Engineering

Besides governance and law, Rome’s influence on our government extends to infrastructure and engineering. The Romans were known for their advanced engineering skills, evident in their construction of roads, aqueducts, bridges, and buildings.

This meticulous approach to infrastructure development has had a lasting impact on urban planning and architecture. Many modern cities still rely on road networks inspired by ancient Roman roads. Similarly, the use of arches and columns, popularized by Roman architecture, can be seen in government buildings around the world.

Cultural Legacy: Language and Education

Latin, the language of ancient Rome, has permeated numerous aspects of modern society. Latin influenced the development of Romance languages such as Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian. It also played a significant role in shaping scientific and legal terminology.

The Roman emphasis on education also left an indelible mark. The creation of schools to educate the young was a concept that proliferated throughout the empire. This focus on education laid the foundation for modern educational institutions and systems across the globe.


The influence of ancient Rome is undeniable when it comes to our government. From representative governance to legal systems, infrastructure development to cultural legacy, Rome’s impact can be seen in various facets of modern society. Understanding and appreciating this influence allows us to better comprehend how our governments have evolved over time.