History does repeat itself, just as the adage suggests. Back in history, Rome was a great empire, a conqueror in war, politically stable and economically confident. Nevertheless, amidst all that success, the great Rome fell and lost all the glory it had garnered. In my opinion, the very reasons that culminated to the decline of the Roman Empire closely relate to the factors that are driving the U.S. into the path of worsening conditions that it is currently trending.
A Brief History of Rome
The history of Rome started in 753 BC after the founding of the city. However, the empire started much later (History, 2010). In its record as a republic, the rulers were consuls elected annually and ruled with the guidance of a very powerful Senate. As the city of Rome grew, it developed a desire to extend its influence and rule into other parts of Italy. In the pursuit of this desire, Rome indulged itself in empire expanding battles and wars with neighboring civilizations. Actually, the period between 343 BC and around 140 BC, saw Rome engage in a huge series of expansionary wars and consequently increased in both military power and economy.
At around 100 BC, Rome was at its peak of expansion and development. Unfortunately, starting with the Social War between 91 BC and 89BC, the calm political and social stability started its way down. Sulla gained power and imposed dictatorial rule starting from 88 BC. This resulted to woes form the citizens as expressed by the slave revolt perpetrated by Spartacus between 73 BC and 71 BC. The situation worsened after two individualistic consuls joined efforts in leading Rome according to their needs, Pompey and Marcus Crassus. In 59 BC, the individualistic leadership was empowered by the inclusion of a third party, Julius Caesar. In his position, he concentrated in amassing wealth through exploitation. Finally, he uses royal forces to get him into full power in 48 BC and starts his famous dictatorial era that reinforces the actual fall of Rome.
The Situation in United States
The history of the United States is quite rich. It started with a common goal of development by the citizens. Working in harmony and under collective ideals has helped in shaping the success of this great nation for a long time in history. Especially in the recent past encompassing the period in the late 20th century and the early 21st century, the US was so confidence and thus so important to the world system (Longxi, 2011, p. 204). It embraced worldwide development projects in both the US and outside its borders. However, just as this state was at the peak of political, economical, and military dominance, the conditions started to worsen starting with the financial crisis that hit the US market and economy in the year 2007/2008. The financial crisis, coupled by other various aspects affecting the growth and stability of the United States, results to many critics believing, that the US is on its downfall as an empire (McCoy, 2010).
The initial reasons leading to the establishment of Rome and America may differ. However, the progress in their developmental rise was essentially the same. Both, inspired by the desire to expand their influence in the neighboring environments, engaged in power seeking wars, which they all won and earned the respect and honor they were seeking. America in the Cold and the World Wars, while Rome in numerous wars. All through the development of empires, the needs, and desires of the citizens always observed. Their views and expectations were the key fuel to the expansionary activities, both in Rome and in America.
Well, looking at past civilizations, there is a pattern in which once a nation gets at the top of what it was looking for, self-actualization, certain negative features crop up. Mostly, there is overexploitation of the environment. In short, most civilizations start collapsing immediately after they get to the point in their establishment that depicts the greatest magnificence and prosperity. The main reason for such failures is overlooking the need of the common citizens and the leaders and other people in power concentrating on selfish activities aimed at just empowering them rather than benefiting the entire nation.
In ancient Rome, the consuls such a as Julius Caesar, started pursuing their own political needs and ended up as ruthless dictators who paid no attention to the subjects who put them there. In the US, as experienced recently, the top authorities have now abandoned the national agenda and are now pursuing greedy and self-enriching strategies instead. This has presently left many American citizens suffering the immense effects of the financial crisis that chiefly emanated from the selfish actions of their leaders. The same effects of effects of poor representation that led to the downfall of Rome are now prevalent in the United States.
In my opinion, the current worsening of conditions in the United States closely compares to the rise and fall of ancient Rome. Just as the fall of Rome resulted from poor representation of the citizens and the greed of power, the same case applies in the United States. After attaining massive prosperity, the government and the government agents are now paying little or no attention to the people’s needs and are rather involved in greedy accumulation of wealth and personal power, paving way for the downfall of America.
- History. (2010). Rome: Rise an Fall of an Empire. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from history.co.uk: http://www.history.co.uk/shows/rome-rise-and-fall-of-an-empire/season-1/timeline.html
- Longxi, Z. (2011). The Concept of Humanity in an Age of Globalization. Goettingen: V&R Unipress GmbH.
- McCoy, A. W. (2010, December 5). Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Taking Down America. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from tomdispatch.com: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175327/
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