The First Secession, Ancient Rome (494 BCE)

a painting of romans

Lucius Sicinius Vellutus organized the first of the Pleb strikes. Source: (


“In 494 BC, the plebs were fed up with the senate passing tax laws that increased the debt of the working class without offering them useful services in return. Lucius Sicinius Vellutus, a working-class pleb, suggested that the workers unite in a walk-off to protest the doings of the senate. In large numbers, the plebs walked out of the city and congregated on the Mons Sacer (“sacred mountain”) while Vellutus and others negotiated with the patricians.

The strike was a rousing success, resulting in the expungement of many plebs’ debts and the creation of the Tribune of the Plebs, the first government position to be occupied by a member of the plebeian class.”

These early strikes show civil rights have always been a human interest.