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Federal and State Officials


In ancient states, the scope of government was almost without limitation. As Aristotle put it, "What was not commanded by the government was forbidden." Government functions were challenged by Christianity during the Roman Empire, when the enforcement of religious sanctions became the focus of political authority. It was not until the 18th century that the modern concept of government as separate from the church came into being.

The Roman Republic had a great deal of influence on those who framed the U.S. Constitution. The supreme council of state in ancient Rome was called the "Senate." Even the name "Capitol Hill" is derived from "Capitoline Hill" of Rome. The Congress of the United States was modeled after British Parliament and assumed the powers that London had held before American independence. Limiting the powers of the individual states, the U.S. Congress was empowered to levy taxes, engage in foreign diplomacy, and regulate Native American affairs.