Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Christopher Bungard


The Late Roman Republic was divided into two political factions, the Populares and the Optimates, who quarreled on whether the voice of the people through votes in popular assemblies should have greater weight in government than the opinions and wisdom of the Roman Senate who, being composed of elite Roman aristocrats, believed were more qualified than the average Roman citizens to govern. A parallel idea of representation exists in the United States, in which two schools of thought emerge, the Trustee Model of Representation versus the Delegate model. In this project, I analyzed the language and rhetoric utilized by ancient Roman authors and thinkers regarding these two political factions and compared those trends to political writings from 18th century America that were concerned about representation. Ultimately, I was able to find a strong connection between the ideologies of the Roman conflict between the Optimates and Populares and the American debate over whether a Trustee or Delegate model of representation is more effective. There has been significant research done on the Late Roman Republic and the conflicts that categorized America’s founding, but my research was able to connect the two political contexts and hopefully, provide a foundation for future research on the links between the ancient world and the United States.

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