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Author Topic: Standardized test, for voting.
theyux
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Or we could make it an IQ test.

But I was wondering if we put some requirements for people to vote. For instance if you want to vote for a candidate, maybe you have to describe what looks like.

Or maybe why you are voting for them.

maybe add a couple of fractions with different denominators.

They dont have to be all that hard, just good enough that we have smart people running the country. or just people who arent stupid.

Maybe this to harsh. Bit I personally believe idiots are over represented in this country.

what are your thoughts?

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Wayward Son
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Idiots may over represent this country, or any country, but not by much. [Wink] Still, they should have a voice.

The basic idea of voting is giving those who are affected by government decisions input on those decisions, if only who will make those decisions. So you've got to let everyone vote, even those who couldn't tell a diamond from a rock. Because even those people are affected by the election.

Elections are important not because the voters made the right or wrong decision, but because the voters made the decision. This gives people the feeling of empowerment and of responsibility (we hope [Eek!] ), which means a better government. Because a government can't help but work better if everyone feels that they are part of it.

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Tom Curtis
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I agree with Wayward, but I would take it further. To regulate somebody without their input is a form of tyranny, so the requirement that all citizens be permitted to vote is a fundamental ethical requirement for the legitimacy of government.

Given that, the correct solution to percieved voter stupidity is to improve the education system of the nation, and to multiply their sources of information by eliminating media oligopolies. Restricting the vote is not an option.

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theyux
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I agree entirely. However my way is a quick fix. And the education system. Is in a whole so deep, well have to raise it 12 feet to hit the 6 foot marker.

I stopped going to class in 4th grade. Eventually my mother guilted me to start showing up and paying attention in 10th grade. I was top of my class in 11th grade. And honors english, in 12th. I write on the 4th grade level. Actually thats not true I was better than. I would actually correct my essays.

The point is I should not have been able to catch up. It wasnt till I hit college that I ever studied for anything. If I had any clue how bad highschool was, I would have gotten a GED.

The education system has become A daycare center. One that would fail. I remember Saguaro highschool considered one of the better schools in the pheonix area. Busted a meth ring that the janitors were running for 2 years.

My point is the education system is not getting fixed anytime soon.

and my requirements arent extreme. WHy should people who couldnt tell you who the last 4 presidents were. Be allowed in the process.

Totalitarion is a bad example. This concept would be similair to how America is. we have the ellectoral college, to prevent stupid people from killing the country. Which worked until the recent Partisian ship thing became popular.

I do think everyone should have the right to vote. But perhaps they aught to be required to understand what it is they are voting on.

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Tom Curtis
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First, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. Does that mean I get to vote?

More importantly, all the current political incumbents would pass any simple test for voters, yet they have not fixed the education system. It seems then that a simple test of literacy (or political literacy) does not select for competence in any significant way, so your fix would be no fix. All it would do is disenfranchise a few poor people who might be illiterate, but may also have common sense, and certainly will know wether they think their life is getting better or worse.

What is more, if the test is standardised, it would be too easy to coach for. If it is not standardised, it would be too easy for unprincipled people to use it to screen out political opponents. For example, durring Australia's shamefull "White Australia Policy", the immigration laws required that new immigrants be able to read a page in a modern language. Potential English immigrants were given a page of English writting. Potential asian immigrants were give a page of Estonian, or Hungarian. Potential Hungarian immigrants were given a page of Sanskrit or Japanese. Thus a purportedly non-discriminatory mechanism designed to raise the average education standard of the immigrants became a de facto tool of racial discrimination. I believe Jim Crowe laws operated in a similar manner, though I don't know enough of the details.

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KnightEnder
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I think there should be some kind of test. I know people that voted for Bush because John Kerry "looks funny". (This was my cousin. A guy that used to have a mohawk, and still has tatoos and earings.) He had no idea about any of the issues, just didn't like the way Kerry looked. Jeez.

KE

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javelin
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And I know people who voted for Kerry because "Bush is an idiot", yet they couldn't tell you a single thing that Bush said or did during his first term, nor do they have any idea what the difference between Congress and the office of the President is.

I still don't see a compelling need for a test.

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DaveS
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TC is right, and KE and Jav inadvertently show why he is. We're a nation of individuals. There's no standardization threshold or competency guideline that wouldn't exclude people just because they are sufficiently different from some norm.

It's pretty much a guarantee that illiterates (or merely poor readers) would fail written tests, as might dyslexics, and people with all sorts of different disabilities or limited abilities would require special testing conditions to be set up in order to pass.

Big can of worms. I think just being able to figure out where your precinct votes is plenty of challenge for some (Ann Coulter, for example).

TC, if the question were phrased "Name the last four elected presidents," wouldn't the answer be Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush?

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DaveS
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quote:
wouldn't the answer be Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush?
Oops!!! It would be Clinton, Clinton, Bush (Gore is an acceptable alternate answer), Bush. Does this mean I can't vote? [Frown]
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javelin
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I'll fight for your right to vote, DaveS.
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DaveS
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Well, you might change your mind if I told you what my score was on that left/right test TC told us about [Smile] .
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javelin
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Not a chance [Smile]
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theyux
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The point is, if you cant name a presidents policy you should not vote. Dont get me wrong. Most people have no clue. What people's policies are. Kerry is a flip- flopper and Bush an idiot. THis is what the majority went the polls with. Both assertation are equally stupid. But they work because the wrong people are allowed to vote.

Im not asking a advanced testing system. Lets try how many senators does a state have? Or here is a great one. What policy do you like in particulair. And why do you dislike this guy as a candidate.

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javelin
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Stupid people cancel each other out, in general, theyux. I will fight any attempt to disenfranchize voters in the United States.
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Automath
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quote:
Im not asking a advanced testing system. Lets try how many senators does a state have? Or here is a great one. What policy do you like in particulair. And why do you dislike this guy as a candidate.
That might actually work if had it on the ballot (voting) paper.
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mlve
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I would like to say one thing I would rather have 100 million people make decisions for me then 1.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
Sir Winston Churchill

If we take away a persons choice, not matter what the reason, we take away his or her humanity. The choice to not know how your own government works and to vote on the fact that you think one candidate is a flip-flopper or an idiot is just as valid as voting with the facts and with conviction. I am highly educated and for me to force what I think is best on another person makes me no different then the dictator. A few years ago we did have tests for voting, this is how the South stopped black people from gaining a voice in society. Doing the same to the uneducated is no better. We are already dangerously close to having a dictatorship of the intelligensia (both liberal and conservative). To create a voting test would create that dictatorship. And is incredibly condesending and degrading to those who are less educated.

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Haggis
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We have a test. It's called showing up at the ballot box and voting. This usually weeds out at least 50% of the population. For me, this suffices.
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Tom Curtis
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quote:
TC, if the question were phrased "Name the last four elected presidents," wouldn't the answer be Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush?
No, the answer would still be the same, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. If, however, the question were "Name the last four presidents elected?" your answer would be correct. (Of course, Bush was not elected in his first term, so it doesn't count; and Gore did not become president, so he doesn't count either.)

quote:
The point is, if you cant name a presidents policy you should not vote. Dont get me wrong. Most people have no clue. What people's policies are. Kerry is a flip- flopper and Bush an idiot. THis is what the majority went the polls with. Both assertation are equally stupid. But they work because the wrong people are allowed to vote.
Americans aren't that stupid. In fact they're not particularly stupid at all. The reason "most people have no clue" is because of apathy rather than lack of intelligence. That apathy may be because of a belief that the candidates are essentially the same anyway, or it may be because they think that there participation will not achieve ends that they actually desire. The later situation, which is probably very common given the low voter turn outs in the US, indicates that the US is failing as a democracy already.

Anyway, tests are not going to increase the level of interest in political affairs. A better education will in the long term. I'm not sure of short term solutions.

(I should note, to avoid confusion, that by apathetic, I mean that the voters are not interested enough to follow the day to day debates and political events, not that they don't get fired up by certain shiboleths. IF they right buzzwords fire them up, then they are interested in thier group membership, but apathetic about the actual political process.)

quote:
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
Sir Winston Churchill

I on the other hand, despise this quote. It values democracy for exactly the wrong reasons, ie, merely as a restraint on tyranny. A person with this attitude places no value on the actual informed consent of the governed, and in consequence will be quite happy to lie, break promises, disenfranchise either formally or practically people who are less inclined to vote for them, and otherwise engage in sharp practise which destroys the possibility of real democracy. What is more, they are happy to encourage the apathy and lack of education which make these sharp practises easier.
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DaveS
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quote:
I on the other hand, despise this quote. It values democracy for exactly the wrong reasons, ie, merely as a restraint on tyranny...
Sorry, this is one of the rare times I disagree with you (with the caveat that I'm only counting the times I understand what you've written [Smile] ). Your complaint is about the inevitable characteristics and behavior of some people in any sufficiently diverse population. Generally speaking, we're better than that.

quote:
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter. -- Thos. Jefferson
He said that for exactly the reason you reject Churchill's comment, and I think he's exactly right.

There are a great many problems** with the practice of the one man/one vote principle here, but I agree with your earlier comment that restricting the practice with tests is Jim Crow in a different disguise.

** FWIW, I may be one of the few people who thinks the Electoral College still makes some sense. It should be revised...but that's another thread.

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Sorry, this is one of the rare times I disagree with you (with the caveat that I'm only counting the times I understand what you've written ). Your complaint is about the inevitable characteristics and behavior of some people in any sufficiently diverse population. Generally speaking, we're better than that.
Actually, my complaint is about the observed behaviour of politicians in both major parties (either in the US or Australia) when they agree with that sentiment. "We" might be better than that, but generally speaking, politicians aren't.
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KnightEnder
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Jim Crowe my ass. I don't want to keep people from voting. I want people to educate themselves on the issues so they know what they are voting for. And yes; voting because you don't like the way someone looks is as stupid as voting against someone because you believe he is an idiot based on the oppositions commercials.

It may be the best so far, but our system is far from perfect and obviously a lot of people already feel disenfranchised.

KE

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theyux
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Ahh yes we should stick to democracy because they cant possibly be a better system. Sure it has faults but dont try to improve upon it because it works well enough. Look where america is now.

omg...

Look we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world because
A. The US, was rich with mineral deposits, Has a good oil supply. And the bread basket, a group of states so fertile, The US pays farmers not to grow food, for economic reasons.
B.The US slaughtered the originals tennants. And used a really really cheap labor force. To build the country.
C. A series of some of the most portent inventions. Created here.
D. The former world powers of the world killing themselves in a huge war. And then going for a sequal. Which devastated everyones exonomy, (except the US which it helped. oh and as i side note, war does not = better economy. You have to have a weak economy for it to be usefull in this day and age). Effectively producing 2 world powers from ruin The US, and the USSR. Both sides overestiamted eachother. And while Reagan did put us into massive debt. He manage to convince the USSR we were a much larger threat then we were. And the USSR managed to bleed thier country to death. ( wasnt hard, in a resource battle, The US had it in spades in comparison to the frozen wasteland, known as the USSR.)
E. A good president Bill Clinton. Who although had many screw ups. He had a campaign of fiscal responsibility. And he got re-elected. although, I attribute the stable economy more to Greenspan and the american people.

The pint Yes goverment had a small part to play. But America has loaded deck. It was kidna like the invasion of Iraq. Sure we where gonna win battle. But by how much?

I stipulate even if we had a monarchy we would done fine. And for the love of god get off the stupid all monarchies are evil propaganda bull****. THat is a stupid thing our parents were brainwashed with. A monarchy success. Is very dependant on a good leader. But if it has one. THen you will have country much better off than not (choices based off reason not politics, much faster acting, and far less exspensive. we pay for every addminstrator in the US). . However democracies have stability. They dont rely on one man to keep going. And less likely to fall victem to a fool. Knock on bush. I mean wood. Look at rome they had 5 good emperors and it took 25 losers to undue thier work.


THe point is we can try move beyond it. I see the point of not exluding people. First, I find it hard to imagine a man intelligent enough to get to the voting booth, but not smart enough to read a few newspapers. So what if we ask people if they are willing to vote with more effectiveness than flipping a coin.

This plan would exclude? Far from it. Odds are people would learn the system, turn out in droves to get it removed.

Its how most of us are we like knowing its the learning part thats sucks.

I imagine a hellish America. Where people are forced to be educated. Politicians are forced, to treat Americans like responsible adults. And finally people who want to vote, vote effectively. God.. what a nightmare.

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Ahh yes we should stick to democracy because they cant possibly be a better system.
No. We should stick to democracy because there cannot possibly be a more ethical system of government.
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theyux
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Oooh I have an idea how about a real democracy. THe US doesnt have one. Electoral College ring a bell?

And dont you have quite an intresting view of ethics.

As for me I stick to the policy "fear stupid people in large numbers"

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Jesse
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Intelligence is no great protection from tyranny.

Literacy is not a measure of intelligence.


Hope, for your sake, that they wouldn't institute a fifty word spelling test as part of the package.

Bear in mind that I am a dyslexic.

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Dave at Work
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I might point out that the US is a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy. We use democratic procedures for a lot of things, but majority rule cannot be allowed to take away your right to freedom of speech or freedom of religion because those are protected by our Constitution. The Constitution will not allow it and the form of our government has a series of checks and balances so that one branch cannot get to far out of line without being yanked back into line eventually by the other branches.
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theyux
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An intresting assumption. True intelligence will not protect us. THe combination of intelligence and experience. Will however. (that means wisdom).

You are absolutely right. However literacy is not the only way to glean information. THiers the radio, TV, talking to your naeibor.

I am terribly sorry if you think the world would be better off with idiots voting. Its not like rome ever fell directly because of that. (thats not fair thier 5 major factors, but it was one of the 5).

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
I am terribly sorry if you think the world would be better off with idiots voting. Its not like rome ever fell directly because of that. (thats not fair thier 5 major factors, but it was one of the 5).
Slight fact check here. Rome never had popular voting. And when Rome fell, it had been an empire, not a Republic, for the last 500 years. The demographics of the voters had nothing to do with it.
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Jesse
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To elaborate....

Every previous "democracy" extended a severely limited franchise. Few of them remained democracies for long.

Those in the Roman Senate, those who voted in an Emperor, were among the best educated men on the planet at the time.

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theyux
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Actually it was pressure from the populace that forced the Senate. You absolutely right the Senate had the power. But as every government has learned over the course of history. People have power. And the senate understood this. They did poll the people. (a practice stolen from greece).

But thanks for the history lesson. Its been along time since 10th grade. Its sad to see people take what they learned in school as fact.

For instance did you know, that everyone England was not evil in the revolution? In fact they had several justifications. Dont get me wrong we won fair an square (ok so they were busy, and we wernt worth it).

Ahh never mind you not need a history lecture from me. Although if people are gonna lecture please for the love of god. Pick up a few books before you do. Dont get me wrong Russel Crow movies are good an all but you might want to go something different.

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KnightEnder
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Russel Crow said it! I believe it! End of story!

And don't confuse us. Everybody knows that Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" was the end all be all on the history of the Revolutionary war.

But seriously, these BOOKS you speak of, I wouldn't put to much stock in any ONE book. People need to read a lot of books from people with a lot of different perspectives and then make up their own minds. History is written by the victors after all.

Theyux, I hope you realize I'm joking and agree with your basic premises.

I love history. I taught my sons history, and my wife commented that I should be a history teacher because I made it fun for them. Why shouldn't it be fun; it is the most exciting story ever told and it is true. Not to mention that it isn't His-story, it's Our-story, the story of man. What's more interesting than that? Unless it's being taught by a football coach that doesn't know or care anything about it, then it is boring as sin.

Unfortunately, they won't let two time felons teach, and I make five times the money of my aunt the teacher. And she has two doctorates and thirty years of teaching experience (smartest person I know. Even smarter than me or Paladine.)

Side note, and a criminal admission, another one: My dad was teaching criminal justice in a school here in Texas that specialized in the law. Anyway, he failed the teachers test three times and the fourth would have put him out of a job. Not the criminal justice part. He was a police officer for 25 years, retired, and has a Criminal Justice degree, but he has problems with testing and certain other aspects of learning.

Fortunately he has the exact same name as me, I'm the IV and my son is the V, so I took the test for him. He went from three failing grades to 98 percentile, and I didn't even study. Tells you something about the quality of our teachers in Houston.

I know it was a crime, but he was only teaching criminal justice not English, Math, or Physics, and he is my dad. Plus, the tests were a joke. Easier than the GED. (Which I took my sophmore year, moved out of my parents house, dad was an alcoholic (now a born-again Christian, retired cop, and Prozac user), and workded my way through college. Had two years of college completed before my classmates graduated high school. "Show me a boy who stays in school and I'll show you a boy, oh yeah."--Prince song.

Actually I could be a teacher because my felonies were adjudicated and I've fulfilled all the requiremtnts to have them expunged (11 years of probation, $23,k in fines and hospital bills, and 200 hours of community service), but I couldn't afford the pay cut. Maybe some day after my boys have finished college and are set up.

Want to know what my felonies were for, ask, I won't be offended. It ain't like this is the yard. And the yard ain't like you see it on tv. The only people in prison are idiots and drug addicts. I was one of the idiots. Yes WAS! Smartasses.

KE

[ April 03, 2006, 02:28 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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mlve
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Sorry to go back this far but....

Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
Sir Winston Churchill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I on the other hand, despise this quote. It values democracy for exactly the wrong reasons, ie, merely as a restraint on tyranny.
__________________________________________________

A democracy is a restraint of tyranny, that is it. Our Republic has rules in place to restrain the people who run our government for exactly that reason to stop tyranny. Our country was founded to stop the tyranny of the English government and Monarchy. We have some wonderful principles but all of our principles add up to a restrained country. Freedom of Press, Religion, Speech, for example are to stop our country from imprisoning, punishing and or killing people it disagrees with. The System of Checks and Balances garantees that no one part of our government becomes to powerful or is above the law. Restraint is the main tennant of our Constution.

Btw the Roman Senate never voted in an Emperor. By the time of Julius Caesar the Senate had very little real power.

The "Roman Emperor" is a convenient title that Historians made up. No Roman Emperor had even called themselves Emperor. There was no office that corresponded to Emperor. There was a collection of titles that Emperor had that gave most of them "de facto" rule over the Empire. Of these titles only the Consulship and Censorate were "elected postions" and even then they were always elected to them. No power came from these postions, it was the Emperor's Tribunician power and his command of the military that gave him power. These were not elected positions and the senate had no control over these powers.

[ April 03, 2006, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: mlve ]

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javelin
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Using the quote tag greatly improves readability, mlve.
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theyux
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Emperor = Ceasear.

And yes they did. They voted often. It was based off perfomance. Why else would Crassus invade persia?

and you can have a restrained monarchy. Or is the Magna Carter fiction?

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mlve
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Caesar (notice ae not ea) was a familial name that was used as a Honorific to link an emperor back to either Julius Caesar or to Caesar Augustus. Roman Emperors had many, many Honorifics. Augustus, Caesar, Pontifex Maximus, Princeps, Princeps Senatus, Pater Patriae, Imperator meaning: Commander, could be bestowed on more that one person and not all Emperors had the title Imperator.

There was no one that held supreme power during Crassus' time (115 BCE-53 BCE). Rome was nominally a Republic at this time. Rome is not acknowledge to be an Empire until Augustus in 31 BCE. Crassus was a Triumvir with Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar, this certainly brought to an end Rome as "true" republic. But Crassus never at any time held all the power in Rome. He had to vie for power with Julius Caesar and Pompey.

And Crassus invaded the Parthian Empire, not the Persian Empire. And he lost completely. Crassus was the most successful Roman Business man but not a great success as a general. Parthia is just one of the many Persian Empires.

Theyux you would have to have a Monarchy to have a restrained one. Read some Roman history. Rome only had Seven Kings prior to the Roman Republic.

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Pelegius
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javelin, knowing that Bush is an idiot suggest knowing enough about the issues to me.

mlve, I am a de facto ancient history major, and all of those kings were in fact mythical. Rome probably had many more real Kings than fake ones.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pelegius:
javelin, knowing that Bush is an idiot suggest knowing enough about the issues to me.

mlve, I am a de facto ancient history major, and all of those kings were in fact mythical. Rome probably had many more real Kings than fake ones.

Yes. I see why your opinion is so highly valued.
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mlve
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Pelegius...I should have clarified my point. The reason that I brought up the seven kings of ancient Rome was because I was pointing out that there was no monarchy at the time, therefore there was no monarch to reign in. And I hold a degree in history.
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theyux
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You got me cold on the parthian empire. I I Also mix them and persia up.

You are also absoltely currect on crassus status. However. By pointing out my "error" I was hoping you would be able to piece together what happened around that time.

What the is real motivation for invading parthia?

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mlve
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Crassus' motivation in attacking Parthia was to gain a military will that would equal the military prestige of either Caesar or Pompey. The battle for power and tenuous alliance between Crassus, Pompey, and Caesar was becoming more of a two man show between Caesar and Pompey. Crassus might have been a brilliant business man but he was not a brilliant general and had not been able to match the military feats of either Pompey or Caesar. So he attacked Parthia to show that he too could be a military commander on par with Caesar and Pompey, unfortunately he lost both the war and later his life. Beyond the fact that Crassus needed a military win to put him on equal footing with Caesar and Pompey, I am not sure what else you are looking for. Crassus definitely was the weakest, in terms of political and military power, of the three. Crassus' motivation was pretty clear power, fame, wealth, and I am sure he wouldn't have minded offing either Caesar or Pompey, or both in the aftermath. There was no political development to my knowledge between Parthia and Rome that precipitated Crassus' invasion, beside Parthia was the last remaining enemy with any real power to challenge Rome in the East.

[ April 04, 2006, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: mlve ]

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