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The professional armies toward the end of the Roman Republic were (if I am remembering my History classes correctly) mainly controlled by individual leaders, which is why Caesar was able to conquer Rome. They had no strong force connecting them to Rome other than nationalism, to use a modern term. Today, however, there are many interlocking forces in play.

(Looking at America specifically for the rest of this answer)

For instance, many of the branches require each other to work. The army isn't deploying anywhere without the help of the Navy and the Navy doesn't have offensive power without one of the other groups. I am of course simplifying, as I'm not a military geek, but the idea is there. And of course there's our nuclear armory, but I doubt any president would fire them on America, even in a civil.






It is true that in the Roman times generals had much more authority over their soldiers than in the modern democracies. However, limits on generals authority do not necessarily prevent military coups. In the recent century, plenty of elected governments have been overthrown by the army in Asia and Latin America.

As for the Navy, I think it was actually more important for the Romans (whose armies were frequently dispersed around the Mediterranean) than for the U.S. or the EU countries. If, for example, the French army wants to march on the Parliament in Paris, it does not need to cross any seas.
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melian
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