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Is The Fall Of The American Empire Inevitable?
Colliseum of Rome
Is The Fall Of The American Empire Inevitable? Part I
The Roman Empire lasted from about 509 B.C. to 476 A.D. The United States of America will be be 247 years old this July 4.
This article will discuss some of the reasons historians have provided for the fall of Rome and contrast them with what's going on in America today.
In order to manage our present, predict and know our future, we need to study and learn from the past.
The causes of the fall of Rome are five fold. Social, Political, Economic, Religious and multiple Invasions/Wars. These discussions are divided into (5) parts.
Frequent invasions by the Huns and other barbarians resulted in numerous tribesmen settling into the empire and becoming citizens of Rome. These immigrants were not vested in or as loyal to Rome as it's original citizens. There was a marked decline in the original Roman citizenry. Citizens lost their allegiance to the state and patriotism was dying.
In contrast, America has always been a "melting pot". It's diverse people have all made contributions and built a strong and unified nation. Part of America's strength lies in her diversity.
Slavery had also weakened the moral fiber of the people of Rome and many of it's people had become disenchanted and disenfranchised.
Slavery was also a problem in America for over (260) years. This caused a split among it's citizens and led to a Civil War.
Slavery was eventually abolished in America although the after math of the slave trade continues to live on until this very day. Today many African Americans and people of color continue to be disenchanted and disenfranchised.
Many historians attributed the decline in moral values as one of the causes of Rome's fall. Rome had become the new Sodom and Gomorrah of Biblical times. Moral decline and degradation depicted in their literature, art, and lifestyles portrayed promiscuous and what was believed to be perverted sex and violence.
There are many individuals who believe that America has experienced a decline in moral values; that Americans have become too tolerant.
Many do not believe that gays and lesbians should have equal rights. That being noted however, America has led the way in protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians may now actively and openly serve in the military.
Marriage between two persons of the same sex is legal in some states.
The outbreak of Aids in America is somewhat akin to the plaque that caused the deaths of thousands of Romans. Approximately 625,000 people in the United States have died because of Aids since it was first detected. Their deaths have impacted many facets of life in America, i.e. the work force, families, the economy, ideas, inventions, etc.
Ancient Rome and America have this in common on a social level, a class system composed of the wealthy, the middle and lower classes. As in ancient Rome, America's middle and lower classes make up 90% of the population, while the wealthy compose 10%.
Ancient Rome, as in modern day America was populated by people from many countries who practiced different cultures. Having such a diverse population was not in Rome's best interest as those individuals who were from outside the empire were not always loyal to Rome. In fact they caused a rift between themselves and the true Romans. Ancient Rome was a divisive nation.
Modern day America is a more unified and cohesive "melting pot." The majority of individuals who choose to migrate to America are seeking a better way of living and opportunities. They love America and do not cause strife among it's original citizens.
America has become more tolerant of individuals who are "different"and have taken steps to pass legislation to assure that they are treated equally.
America continues to have problems with race discrimination. Though slavery has been abolished in America, the feelings and emotions of the slave masters still exist in the collective memories of some of the descendants of those masters. A man of color is the president of the United States. President Obama could not have been elected without the vote of White America. America has come far in the area of race relations, but much still needs to be done.
As a world power, America has been involved in wars on foreign soil. The attack on America in America on 09/11/2001 changed this country and it's people in deep and significant ways. Many Americans are fearful of and prejudiced towards those individuals who live in America that are of Eastern descent. Many individuals in America that are from mostly Muslim countries are in America to plan another attack on this country. On the other hand, many individuals of middle eastern descent are loyal to America and it's people.
Roman Statesman Lucius Verius
Emperor Julius Caesar
Roman Empire - Constantine Coin
Basilica of San Martel
Is The Fall Of The American Empire Inevitable? Part II
ROMAN WARS AND INVASIONS
The decline of Rome precipitated by numerous wars and invasions as well as other factors mentioned in this article caused a famine.
The Roman soldiers were weak and vulnerable because they were not adequately fed. Many Roman soldiers died in the wars.
The Roman army was composed of thousands of soldiers who had previously invaded Rome and became citizens. Mercenaries from Germany and other countries also fought for Rome. However, neither of these two groups were loyal to Rome and many deserted.
The cost of maintaining an army and hiring mercenaries eventually caused Rome’s economy to become inflated and to eventually collapse.
Like ancient Rome, America has spent billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Expenditures for Afghanistan are expected to continue until 2014. Much of the money America had to borrow was because of heavy military expenditures.
Like Rome, America has and continues to face the threat of war in the middle east, specifically in Iran. A war with Iran would put an even greater strain on the American economy. America does not have the money to pay for another war.
Unlike the Roman army, the American army is unified, loyal and committed. The American military, while not the largest in numbers, is one of the strongest in the world. The American army has high tech capabilities. If the need arises, America can use conscription to build up it’s forces.
America and other European Countries spend millions and millions of dollars per year to support their militaries.
America’s expenditures for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq placed a tremendous burden upon the economy.
The expenditures proved to be inflationary as America was spending millions and billions of dollars that it did not have. Subsequently, today’s inflation is at it’s highest since the great depression.
President Obama proposed budget cuts for the US Military and the Department of Defense.
As America’s strength lies in it’s war fare technology, numbers of physical bodies are not as paramount.
Let us all pray that our leaders will exercise sound and well thought out solutions so as not to place our young men in harm’s way by engaging in another war. Each and every one of our young military men who fight our wars are all highly valued and should not be sacrificed by leaders in high places whose sons and daughters are most likely unaffected by the US engaging in yet another war.
Were we to engage in a war in the Middle East (Iran) we would surely ram the last nails in our coffin as the American economy would collapse, our credit rating would again be lowered, and the ripple effect of such an action would be devastating for the American people.
Modern Boundary Stone
Emperor of Rome - Augustus
Is The Fall Of America Inevitable? Part III
The lower and middle classes were once the driving force in Rome’s economy. As Rome began it’s descent, the nation had become a nation of the haves and the have-nots; the rich and the poor.
Taxation was not equally administered. Parts of the Roman Empire were taxed while other parts were not. The rich aristocrats began to take over the rule of Rome, to become more greedy, and to take over the farmers’ lands.
The Romans had ran out of money. To solve the problem the Romans minted more and more coins. This move resulted in unparalleled inflation as the value of food and other commodities were pushed much higher than it’s normal price. The ordinary people could not afford to buy food.
Here in America, we also have the rich, the middle and lower classes. Taxation is not evenly distributed or fair as the middle class bears most of the burden of running the government and paying for it’s debts and other fiscal obligations. The rich pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes than the poor or middle classes.
This has caused a sort of class war in America.
As Romans depended largely upon the labor of slaves to do all of the work in their homes, to build and maintain their roads, to till their farms,to work in their fields, to build their homes and businesses and to tend to their children, traditional work ethics declined causing a breakdown in the labor force.
The infrastructure of cities declined and began a steady decay.
As productivity declined, Rome became more and more dependent on foreign products.
The cost of running the government and maintaining the military became burdensome.
A plaque caused 10% of Rome’s population to die.
Rome needed to recruit more soldiers. In order to pay their soldiers, they also had to raise taxes. This expenditure caused massive deficits in the state’s budget.
At it’s peak, Rome had the world’s largest and strongest army in the world. It was this army’s might that caused the Empire to become so strong. The soldiers were loyal to their country. The army was initially made up of peasants who were given land after their service.
When Rome began to use paid German soldiers who owed no allegiance to Rome and often revolted, Rome’s army lost it’s military might.
Rome’s military was also weakened because the men in the army did not have adequate food.
This lack of food weakened the men in the Roman Army. They were too weak to fend off the invading Huns who attacked them and became citizens of Rome.
The American economy today is in the process of recovery. During the Bush years in office, America became embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars cost America billions of dollars.
In addition to high defense and military expenditures in recent years, America has endured a collapse of the housing and stock markets. Many cities are experiencing decaying infrastructures. The US government does not have the resources to help build the infrastructures of these American cities.
The government is spending more than it takes in and has obligated itself for future expenditures with money it does not have.
America has had to borrow money from China and Japan. China is emerging as a world power and vying for the number (1) position in the world. Only time will tell how this will play out.
As in ancient Rome, many Americans are struggling to feed themselves and their families and to take care of their daily needs. Approximately 50,000,000 million people in America are on food stamps.
The drought we experienced in 2012 resulted in many small farmers becoming bankrupt and the cost of food to soar even higher.
Let us not forget that the Republicans have refused to bring President Obama’s farm Bill to the house floor for a final vote. This means that the farmers did not receive the financial assistance that they need to recover and/or stay afloat. This also means that some workers lost their jobs and some farms folded.
Modern day America and Ancient Rome have both experienced a significant decline in their economic status in the world. America is still in the midst of the greatest recession since the great depression years. America has lost it’s high credit rating. American Jobs are being outsourced to countries such as China and Japan. Subsequently, many more Americans are unemployed.
The jobless rate in America fell to 7.6% in April, the lowest its been in (4) years. Economically America is in a state of near collapse. Conditions in America are parallel to the economy in Rome when it was in decline and finally collapsed. The hand writing is on the wall….
Merlons at Se de Evora
Is The Fall Of The American Empire Inevitable? Part IV
Edward Gibbons, an English historian and member of the British parliament wrote several books on the fall of the Roman Empire. “The History of The Decline Of The Roman Empire” was his most famous book. In his book, he espoused the theory that Christianity was a contributing factor to the fall of Rome because the citizens that embraced Christianity became less interested in the worldly affairs of Rome. They were more interested in seeking their salvation and waiting for their rewards in heaven.
He also attributed a loss of civic virtue to the fall of Rome. Instead of defending themselves and their country, they entrusted Rome’s defense to barbarian mercenaries who turned against them.
Gibbons believed that the combination of a loss of virtue and the rise of Christianity were a lethal combination along with other factors.
Christianity caused a rift between those with traditional Roman values who adhered to pagan philosophies and the Christians who believed in the one God. This conflict caused great persecution of the Christians until Emperor Constantine put a halt to it. Gibbons believed that Christianity had disrupted the foundations of the Roman Empire and that the Christians had disputed their belief that Rome was founded by the gods who would rule over the earth forever.
Other historians are not in agreement with Gibbon’s theory citing that the empire was on it’s way to decline before Christianity took a foot hold. They expressed that Christianity was a form of distraction, not destruction.
The spread of the Muslim faith has also been said to have attributed to the decline of Rome.
The United States of America was founded by individuals seeking religious freedom. These individuals had been devoted to Catholicism and ruled by the papacy. They came to America in order to openly practice the religion of their choices.
America is tolerant of all religions. It’s citizens do not have to worship in secret. There is for the most part a separation of church and state. You will find churches of various nominations in every city, town, state, county, village and borough of the United States. Catholic and Protestant Churches, Kingdom Halls, Mosques, Synagogues, Temples, etc, all coexist with little or no conflict.
Since 9/11, Americans have been fearful of individuals that practice the Muslim faith and there have been some incidents of racial profiling of individuals of the Muslim faith.
Many individuals attribute America’s wealth and power to the practice of Christianity by the majority of it’s citizens.
Is The Fall Of The American Empire Inevitable? Part V
Ancient Rome was ruled by an Emperor who had all and unlimited power over all facets of roman life. The senate was considered an advisory governing body. There was often a power struggle between the emperor and the senate.
Many of the emperors who were wealthy and powerful became corrupt and engaged in immoral lifestyles. At one point a group of soldiers called the Praetorian Guard who were actually body guards of the emperor gained control of the emperor and were so powerful they could decide whether an emperor would be killed or even if he would be the new emperor. On at least one occasion the guards reportedly sold the emperorship of ancient Rome to the highest bidder.
As the Romans had engaged in many battles and conquered many lands, the empire had become too vast for one emperor to rule. In order to defend her borders and territories, Rome required a huge army. The same barbarians they had conquered were allowed to become Roman citizens and to join the Roman military. In one (50) year period, Rome had (20) emperors. All of Rome’s emperors, with the exception of two, were killed violently.
The people of the lands the Romans conquered hated them. Taxes on the barbarians was high and increased frequently. Rebellions and uprisings against the emperor and the government were frequent.
It is evident that the government of ancient Rome was one of instability, corruption and frequent rebellions by it’s citizens.
The fact that the Roman military was also involved in the rule of the empire and that the Practorian Guard controlled the emperor caused even greater disunity and strife among the government and it’s citizens.
Just as with the government in ancient Rome, the American government is headed by the president who is the counterpart of Rome’s emperor. Unlike the emperor of ancient Rome, the president does not have unlimited power. America has what is called a “balance of power”.
America has a two party form of government composed of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Senate and the House of Representatives work in partnership with the president to pass legislation and to protect and keep America safe and secure.
The election of it’s first man of color as president has proven to be problematic for our leaders. The Republican party has proven to motivated by greed, power, and racism. Rather than work with the president for the good of America and it’s people, they have pledged and carried out a plan to cause the president to fail, thereby causing America and it’s people to fail.
The Republican Party has done much to further the decline of the American empire as evidenced by their calculated obstruction of all legislation and appointees proposed by President Obama. The Republicans even obstructed bills formerly proposed by them.
"The Republicans' plot to vote nay on all of Obama's legislation and judicial nominees has caused America and it's people undue harm. Had they not blocked the American Jobs Act, unemployment could have fallen below 6%, the economy would have seen a more marked recovery, homeless veterans and their children would not be out in the streets, America's credit rating would not be low and unacceptable, our veterans who fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be experiencing more money in their pockets, people would be spending more, the deficit would be drastically reduced, and America would not be on the verge of losing face and prestige in the eyes of the whole world." Larry Edelson, financial journalist, investment advisor, financial counselor
It is evident that America's continued economic decline is directly related to the Republicans' calculated intent to make sure that President Obama's first term was his last term and that he was blamed for all that is wrong with America. Their actions not only harmed President Obama but the American people as well....those whom they are charged to protect rather than harm.
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3.Peter, Heather, The fall Of The Roman Empire: A New History Of Rome And The Barbarians. Oxford University Press, June 11, 2007