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Student Work Sample

Plebeians: Climbing To the Top of the Social Ladder

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already
did" (Newt Gingrich). This means that hard workers don't just stop when they are tired of trying;
they keep on trying so that they can achieve their goals and help others. The plebeians were
Rome's working class, the most significant social group to the success of the Roman Empire.
Many plebeians were peasants, and they worked hard to support their families and pay their
taxes (, 2006,plebeians). Lacking political power, they began to rebel as a large group in
order to gain a stronger voice in the government. They may have not known it, but their hard
work and determination also led to the success and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
Although their jobs were not in the government at first, plebeians' work was still very
important and helped with the growth of Rome. Patricians were upper-class citizens who came
from a small group of wealthy landowners."Patricians controlled the most valuable land. They
also held the important military and religious offices." (, 2014, section 33.2).
Therefore, the plebeians were left to do the jobs that were considered less prestigious, like
farmers, bakers, builders, or craftsmen. However, these jobs were not any less important than
those of the patricians. Plebeians' work was necessary to the dialy life of Rome. Some may
think that the work of slaves in Rome was more effective than the work of the plebeians. Even
though slaves completed unpaid labor, which helped slave owners, "plebeians made up about
95% of Rome's population" (, 2014, section 33.2) which means that a majority of the
population were hard workers. Although some slaves may have had more difficult work than
plebeians, as a whole, pleabeians' made a greater difference in the growth of Rome.
The plebeians also fought hard to gain more political rights. Their determination for an equal
government led to the republicanism in the Roman Empire and also inspired other leaders in the
rest of the world. Since the plebeians were 95% of the population, they thought that it was unfair
that the patricians who were such a small group held most of the power. They were also
angered by being forced to serve in the army. When plebeians began to demand more political
rights, they held many revolts that caused patricians to lean closer and closer to granting them
these rights. "The struggle between plebeians and patricians is known as the Conflict of the
Orders." (, 2014, section 33.4). The struggle took a dramatic turn in the year 494
B.C.E. At that time, the city of Rome had a population of 24,000. Most of these people were
plebeian. The plebeians were so angry over their lack of power that they marched out of the city
and camped on a nearby hill. They refused to return to the city until their demands were met.
Since the plebeians were important working citizens, the patricians panicked when they left the
city. Work had come to a halt and they worried that the army would be helpless without the
plebeians. The patricians eventually gave up and had to compromise. This led to a lot of change
in Rome. Over the years, plebeians gained more rights like the ability to have tribunes to speak
for them in front of the senates and the consuls. "Rome's republican form of government
inspired future leaders in Europe and America. Rome became an example of a type of
government ruled by a set of basic laws, or a constitution". (,2014,section 33.5)
Later political thinkers believed in the ideals of elected assemblies, citizenship and civic duty.
Commented [1]: You need an in-text citation here, I
believe this is from
They used the model of governmental bodies that could check each others power. They were
especially inspired by Rome's republicanism.
Although patricians classified themselves as the most important people of Rome, the
plebeians managed to make the most positive change in the Roman Empire. They were
determined to work hard to pay their taxes and support their families. Many people may think tht
slaves were the most helpful to the success of the Roman Empire because they were unpaid
laborers. However, the plebeians were also hard workers who made up most of the population.
Their hard work and determination also shows in their long battle for equality. Since they never
gave up, they not only managed to change Rome into a republic, but they also changed the