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In 509 BCE, with the exit of the last Etruscan king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the Roman people were presented with a unique opportunity, an opportunity that would eventually have an immense impact on the rest of Europe for centuries to come: the chance to create a new government, a republic. Although most rights were restricted to an elite patrician class, this new government would have three-branches: a centuriate assembly, a Senate (whose only purpose was to serve in an advisory capacity), and two co-executives, called consuls. The idea of co-consuls meant no one individual could abuse the executive power. A consul, elected through the assembly, had the power of a king, power albeit restricted by his one-year term and the authority of the other consul. Although not a true democracy by the modern definition, the Roman Republic appeared somewhat representative.

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