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Comparison between USA and rise and fall of Rome

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posted on Jun, 15 2006 @ 09:15 PM
Over the past couple years, I have had one concept running through my head.

I am afraid that the United States is dying. The more I look into it, I can see more and more comparisons to Rome and its rise and fall. Outlined below:

Period of early republicanism:
US: From Constitutional Convention to Jackson's Presidency.
Rome: Early Republican Senatorial Rome to the age of Tribunal Rome.

The wars of the time are mirrored as well. The US war of 1812 is similar to the Roman-Carthaginian wars. Both were wars brought about the rise of the victor who had been weak and unorganized prior to the war.

Period of Early Executive Expansion:
US: President Jackson through Buchanan
Rome: Tribunal Rome through the Consular Rome and the age of the Generals
Period of great territorial expansion. US in the form of Manifest Destiny and Rome in the conquests of Europe, Asia Minor, and North Africa.

Period of Civil War:
US: American Civil War
Rome: Caesar crosses the Rubicon, followed by his wars with Pompey and the other Triumvirates.

Period of Final Legislative resistance:
US: Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
Rome: Assassination of Julius Caesar

Legislative power dies:
US: Executive power drastically expands under McKinley and Roosevelt.
Rome: Octavian crowned Emperor

Executive Power further expands:
US: Presidential power through the World Wars expands in arguably unconstitutional ways (Income Tax, Internment, Cold War covert ops)
Rome: The Emperors consolidate total power in Rome (For better: Augustus, Hadrian; For worse: Nero, Caligula)

The Height:
US: Prosperity in the mid 1980s and middle and late 1990s
Rome: Reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius

The Decline:
US: 9/11 and the war on terror. Increased price of oil, decline of American economic might due to international debt, decreased domestic manufacturing, outsourcing.
Rome: Increasing barbarian activity along the Germanic Frontier. Increased raids on Roman trade routes. Roman legions strained and stretched.

The Collapse (feared to be in the future)
US: International community seeks to undermine US power in everything from opposition to US military activity to sidelining the US in the UN to trade negotiations, etc. US cannot respond due to timidity of populace due to concerted efforts of Republican elite (Patriot Act, NSA Wiretapping, etc.)
Rome: Slow collapse under constant pressure from Goths, Huns, Franks, etc.

Any thoughts? Has this occurred to anyone else?

posted on Jun, 15 2006 @ 09:19 PM
Thats pretty bold comparison. Sadly every nation declines even the U.S. But that don't mean we(America) is equivalent to Roman Empire. Theres no such thing as Liberalism in the Roman Empire. America had that in the beginning. And theres many differences but don't feel like posting it all now since I'm leaving in a few minutes.

O yeah, for the civil war over slavery in America. I don't remember the Romans ever gave it up to the end.

[edit on 15-6-2006 by deltaboy]

posted on Jun, 15 2006 @ 09:28 PM
True, the variations are clear between the events. Carthage was not a colonial power that founded Rome either.

However, I feel that this is the start of the decline of the US.

posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 08:07 AM

Originally posted by Pragmatist Centrist
US: From Constitutional Convention to Jackson's Presidency.
Rome: Early Republican Senatorial Rome to the age of Tribunal Rome.

Interesting choice.

The wars of the time are mirrored as well. The US war of 1812 is similar to the Roman-Carthaginian wars.

I think you rae forcing the interpretation of the war to fit into your timescale. The Punic Wars were wars between super-powers of their time for control of a region. The Spanish-American and wars might better fit into that.

Period of Civil War:

The problem here is that the US civil war solidified the nation, rather than made it so weak as to accept an emperor over a republic.

Roman legions strained and stretched.

I think that an important difference here is that the empire seems to have adopted a strategy of 'defense', rather than offense though. The legions were pulled back into sets of more centralized locations. When a barbarian horde would assemble on the borders, the state would do nothing, they'd cross into the country, and the people would have to retreat to their fortified cities, defense was left up to auxilliary units to keep the barbarians out of the city. Then the legions would head to the region, by which time the barbarians had had their fill and would leave.

The US military, on the other hand, is more active and responsive and even anticipatory.

Rome: Slow collapse under constant pressure from Goths, Huns, Franks, etc.

Rome largely fell via internal mechanisms though. THe barbarians only got the upper hand because the military had decided not to attack them properly, and with that the mechanisms of the state, even the rationale of the state, fell apart.

Any thoughts?

I'm not sure I agree in the details or the general idea, but great post!

posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 08:16 AM
If the US went the way of Rome, I would say that we're still in the Republic phase, and that the danger is that we become an Empire.

The danger of that happening, if it happens like with Rome, as I see it, is that you'd have the military situation getting so out of hand that the public no longer feels secure, far beyond the 'insecurity' that terrorism and the reaction to terrorism has generated. The Romans had Senators raising armies and sacking their cities. Our equivalent might be powerful politicians creating factions that pull the power strucutres in the country in opposite directions. We might, for example, have a presidency that, perhaps in reaction to the excesses of today, refuses to use the military to, say, stop massive rioting of islamists in, say, Detroit. Or that won't use the military to respond to radical right-leaning militias. Its also possible that we, say, pull out of the world's affairs, and then the world 'strikes back', with a series of attacks like 911, etc, but the administration, or a group within congress, won't respond, while there are others calling for action. Even, god forbid, generals demanding action.

Luckily in the US generals tend to keep their mouths shut when in command, and speak their minds in retirement.

So scenarios like that might create an extreme feeling of vulnerability would be a parrallel.

posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 08:17 AM
Good comparison, I for one believe that US is not dying as a nation but our system of government is in great jeopardy by the actions accumulated through a periods of decades of those that holds the power in our nation.

posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 07:07 PM
Thanks for you thoughts! Here is another point I'd like to make:

The relationship between the Roman Emperors and the Senate was - I think - similar to what we have today. The constitution arguably outlines Congress to have more direct control on policy than is exercised today. Article I of the US Constitution gives Congress the power to:
To regulate commerce with foreign nations
To declare war
To raise and support armies
To provide and maintain a navy and regulate its and the Army's behavior
To give advice and consent to Political Appointments, Judges and Ambassadors and Treaties.
In addition to more mundane powers like establish a post office.

The role it gives the President is significantly less defined, but the way I read the constitution, the President is the manager of the policies Congress legislates - with his consent of those policies given by signing legislation of course.

Nowhere does it say that the President should be the largest initiator of policy or legislation - which is proposed on the Floor for him by members of Congress. Nor does it ever say anything about allowing the President to claim exemption from Congressional legislation or oversight by using the excuse of 'National Security' or through the use of Signing Statements.

Let us not forget that the Roman Senate existed long into the time of the Emperors and held session just as they did during the republican phase. However, all practical power rested in the Emperor. Similar is today in the US. Congress can still raise its head and show its teeth, but either its ability or desire to do so is waning. I fear that Congress is turning into an agent of the Presidency as a means of passing Presidentially proposed policy and legislation while not passing legislation against the Presidential agenda.

I'd love to hear.

[edit on 16-6-2006 by Pragmatist Centrist]

posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 06:24 PM
I feel there are a couple of very important similarities between the decline and eventual fall of Rome, and what we see happening in the US today, that havent been mentioned. The first being the artificial inflation of the supply of currency, in teh US its heppened by the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and in Rome is happened by reducing the amount of gold and silver in their coinage, being replaced with other metals like lead, etc. The second being the shift from a reasonably representative govt. which both entitys had at one point, to a plutocratic oligarchy. These two things, more than anything else have lead to collapse of the past, and will certainly lead to a collapse of govts. who implement these things in the future.

Just my two cents.....

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 10:20 AM
I like your comparison but I don't know a lot about the history of Rome.

But I think the U.S could go the way of Great Britain if China is really a suitable Western partner. Britain would have kept a lot more of its empire if it hadn’t had the U.S to fall back on support.
The U.S doesn't have an empire but it has the a lot of power that comes with the money to buy an army that could create one, or at the very least destroy just about any other nations. However the U.S is a financial empire (its militaries money comes from it's own people as opposed to enslaving other people). Therefore if anything goes wrong with economy then so does its ability to pay for that military. There are many things currently wrong with the U.S economy, and should a second Wall Street Crash ever happen then that is first big step towards its major decline. Right now the U.S is being outdone, but it is not (as yet) in decline.
If China is not a suitable partner then we have another Cold War, this time access to resources is likely to become a major issue, as the world is in short supply of them. Personally I think the day will come when the U.S doesn't pick a fight with China. But whether that's in 25 years or 50 years is another thing.

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 01:50 PM
Pragmatic Centrist, while general comparisons between the U.S. and Rome can be validly made, I think you are getting too specific in your comparisons. There is no one-to-one correspondence between, for example, the American Civil War and any of the civil wars fought among the Romans. (If you wanted to draw such a parellel, though, I think a better candidate for the Roman equivalent might be the Bellum Socii or war with the Italian allies, both for devastation and for the type of change it wrought.)

Here is how I would describe the general course of events, for each civilization:


After the last of a series of foreign kings was overthrown, the Roman city-state declined to choose a new monarch but rather crafted a republic. The machinery of government was designed to ensure the rule of nobly born, wealthy, and privileged Romans, while at the same time preventing any one person from amassing too much power.

Over the five centuries or so after the Republic was founded, two important changes occurred. One change was that Romans outside the ranks of the nobly born, wealthy, and privileged asserted their rights and a number of reforms were instituted to benefit them, such as the election of Tribunes of the Plebeians with right of veto and the power to legislate. The other change was the growth of Roman power. From a small city-state on the Tiber, Rome grew to be the dominant power in the Mediterannean area. Wealth flowed into the city, concentrating in the hands of its ruling class, and many evils resulted from that. The machinery of the Republic, which worked well to govern a small city-state, was too cumbersome to efficiently govern a great empire. In the last century of the Republic, the laws and traditions were repeatedly set aside to allow men of ability to meet repeated emergencies. Hence Marius' holding of the consulship for several years running, Sulla's two-year dictatorship, and Pompey's many extra-constitutional special military commands. The final breakdown resulted in Caesar's assuming a lifetime dictatorship, and after his assassination, a period of civil strife culminated in the end of the Republic and the formation of the Imperium. The Imperium, as established by Augustus, maintained the governing structures of the Republic, but erected a new superstructure on top of that, with powers concentrated in the Emperor's hands that effectively negated Republican rule.


After the war for independence from Great Britain was won, the newly-independent states declined to choose a new monarch but instead crafted a republic. The U.S. Constitution as originally instituted was designed to protect the privileged rule of the wealthy and powerful, while also giving some voice to democracy and preventing any one person from amassing too much power. It maintained a balance between democracy and aristocracy and between the central government and the states, both of which proved impossible to maintain.

Not quite 50 years after its adoption, the Constitution failed to maintain order when a number of states seceded from the union and the nation was plunged into civil war. After the war, the Constitution was amended to strengthen the federal government and weaken the states, so as to prevent any recurrence. Also, the militia system of military service was abandoned in favor of a strengthened regular Army and the creation of a National Guard under stronger federal control than the old militia had been. Over time, other amendments strengthened the democratic elements in the government and weakened the aristocratic ones.

At the end of World War II, 80 years after the end of the Civil War, the U.S. found itself for the first time a world power, and in order to maintain that status created and sustained a peacetime military unprecedented in its history. It also created an espionage and secret-agency network almost completely unaccountable to the public. The nation's superpower status provided economic benefits that, like the wealth accruing to the Roman Republic, flowed mainly to the wealthy elite, and the resulting influence of money on U.S. elections undermined democracy even while, on paper, democracy had mostly triumphed. Because the republican forms that had sufficed for an independent confederation of states hugging the Atlantic coast, and even for a coast-to-coast continental nation, proved inadequate to govern a vast empire ruling unofficially over most of the globe and many peoples of various languages and cultures, non-democratic governing institutions were established in the shadow of the elected government, and these, along with the permanent established military, accrued more and more power over the years.

That is as far as things have gone so far. We have not reached a Rubicon event at this point.

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 08:16 PM
Ah once again a chance to quote Tytler:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

Just thought i'd toss that into the mix

And just for those that want to argue the matter, Yes. I know that the United States is not a democracy, It is a Republic.


posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 08:50 PM

Originally posted by Pragmatist Centrist
Nowhere does it say that the President should be the largest initiator of policy or legislation

THis might be seen as similar to the empire in the principate, with the caeser being primus inter pares, first amoung equals.

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 10:28 PM

Originally posted by mrwupy
Ah once again a chance to quote Tytler:

I'm sorry, Mrwupy, I know this material has been posted many times, and it's not really pertinent to this topic, but it's a hard-and-fast rule of mine that I ALWAYS must respond by pointing out what utter ludicrous nonsense it is.

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

A statement inherently unverifiable, since "permanence" requires, for proof, that a form of government exist into the unforeseeable future. Let us simply say that many democracies exist today that have been around for centuries, and that a far greater percentage of the earth's surface is government by democracy than was the case when Tytler wrote those words.

While we cannot disprove the notion that a democracy cannot be "permanent," we can disprove the following:

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

Of democracies that have ceased to exist, even temporarily -- ancient Athens, say, and the first French Republic -- NOT ONE fell through a process remotely resembling this description.

It simply doesn't happen. Never has. Not once.

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.

Oh, really? Let's see now . . . let's make a list of civilizations, shall we?

Western Europe and its current and former colonies

I know that's not exhaustive by a long stretch, but it will do for a start, shall we agree? Now, let's consider how long each of them lasted to date.

Sumeria -- mid 4th millennium to late 3rd millennium BCE, roughly 1,500 years.

Babylonia -- around 1900 BCE until the conquest by Cyrus of Persia in 538, or roughly 1,500 years.

India -- not counting the Indus Valley civilization, but beginning with something genuinely "Indian" -- I would say the Vedic civilization -- date this one from 2,000 BCE or thereabouts. As a civilization, India still exists. It is now over 4,000 years old.

Egypt -- the beginning of this civilization was about 4,000 BCE. I would say it ended either with the Roman or the Muslim conquest; today's Egypt is a Muslim country radically different in culture from its ancient forbears. If we choose the earlier date, then Egypt ended in the first century BCE, and therefore lasted almost 4,000 years.

China -- the only existing civilization older than India, Chinese civilization is some 6,000 years old and still going strong.

Persia -- we can date the origins of the Persian civilization at about 1,000 BCE. It still exists. Granted, it is today a Muslim country, but Persian Islam seems very different from the religion as practiced in Arab countries, and has a strongly Zoriastrian flavor. Persian civilization is some 3,000 years old. It may end soon if Bush decides to nuke Iran.

Greece -- Greek civilization, properly so called, began after the fall of the Minoan/Mycenaean civilization to barbarians, roughly 900 BCE. As a civilization, it survived internal wars and conquests by the Macedonians, the Romans, and the Turks, dominating each of those conquerors culturally even though it lost militarily. Greece is now almost 3,000 years old.

Rome -- If we date the Roman civilization properly so called from the founding of the Republic in the 6th century BCE, and end it with the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century CE, we have a roughly 1,000-year lifespan.

Japan -- this civilization dates from about the 5th or 6th century CE. It still exists, and is therefore some 1,500 years old.

Western Civilization -- this emerged from the ruins of the western Roman Empire. I would date the origin of Western civ proper at no earlier than 1,000 CE (they were hardly "civilized" before that). It still exists and is in fact the most powerful and vigorous civilization on the planet. It's about 1,000 years old and going strong.

Those 10 great civilizations have lasted an average of 2,650 years, more than 10 times as long as Tytler's supposed "average." One wonders how many civilizations lasting only a decade or so he examined in order to balance out that longevity and arrive at his "average," and on what basis he called such relative mayflies "great."

During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

It would be interesting indeed to see one -- just one -- civilization shown to follow this ill-defined pattern. Or even to have an explanation of what those "stages" might mean.

posted on Jun, 22 2006 @ 04:45 AM
I tend to believe something similar, but not quite so rudimentary. I think that the Roman Empire never fell. I think she merely went underground. The "Old Money", as it's been called, went from Rome to Western Europe, and that funded the expedition to the English Colonies, which made what we now know to be the US.

Everyone says that Rome was economically broke when she fell, and that's generally a true statement. I believe the reason for this is that when the Goths mutinied and took Rome, they took all of the money that was still stored there, and squandered it all away throughout Western Europe. This allowed the Feudal Lords and Nobles to come about during the Middle Ages. From there, it's easy to see how America could be nothing but an extension, or ressurection rather, of the Great Roman Empire.

If I could only follow the "Old Money", I could find out for sure. Nygdan, wanna help me?


posted on Jul, 2 2006 @ 05:09 PM
Well you can try to compare the USA with Rome, but they really are not the same. Different times make comparisons harsh. Who in reality is going to be able to take over a country of 250+ million people and change their lives. The roman empire was made up of slaves, servants, military, and powerful families. Rules were different from North Africa, to the eastern empire, and up into Brittannia. Not America, you can go from New York to California and find most laws, beliefs, and cultures are the same. Not in roman times, cultures were severly different from east to west.There was no media then to tell someone 1000 miles away what was happening in Rome and to encourage people to be a certain way.

You see for a country like ours to fall, the majority of the people in this country would have to be the ones to create, organize, and rule a new government. So in a way it will still be the USA!

Look the Roman empire went through many different styles of government before the collapse of the western roman empire. But still after this the Eastern Roman Empire still flourished, under the catholic church and then the othodox church. The Roman empire really never died it just changed names. From roman, to byzantine, to the catholic church.

Some can say the roman empire still thrives within the Catholic Church, created by emperor Consantine and still a church of the world today.

So compare if you want but the USA will be around for a long time to come. Like our anthem says HOME OF THE BRAVE, LAND OF THE FREE! Remember this bcause we will always be this way no matter who is running this country.

Governments can change but as Americans we will always want our land and be free!

Power to the people!

posted on Jul, 2 2006 @ 05:43 PM
I totally agree with the topic and i have been saying the same thing for YEARS but for a different reason.

Like every GREAT civilization, the USA WILL FALL because of its continuous slide to immorality, corruption and greed. Plain and simple.

A nation that worships celebs and NEEDS to know what Paris Hilton does every night deserves to go down.

And the dude who was arguing against the 200 year thing, he was saying as a leading civilization... I would hardly call Greece, Egypt or Persia a world leader in the last ohhh 750 years.

Thats like saying England is still a Superpower. A country that onced had control over 60% of the worlds land mass...reduced to opening the gates to prisons because it doesnt have room...

Anyways, AMERICA is going down. It has been for....10-15 years? The American hayday was the 50-60's and its been going down ever since.

The Canadians will probably celebrate by burning down the White House.... AGAIN.

posted on Mar, 20 2011 @ 10:29 AM
Hmmm... Rome falled?

The First Roman Empire - Rome (for example Ceasar)
Second - Byzantium (Constantine the Great
Third - Russia/Moscow (Stalin)
Fourth - Still Russia ?

The First Reich - Holy Roman Empire (Charlemagne)
Second - The German Empire (Hohenzollern dinasty)
Third - Nazi Germany (Hitler)
Fourth - America ?

posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 06:53 AM
reply to post by op0sum

Roman Empire (the "first Rome") -Polytheistic Rome
Byzantine Empire (the "second Rome") -Christian Rome
_______ Empire (the "third Rome") - ______________
these are to be considered:
Russian -Orthodox Christian Rome
Ottoman -Islamic Rome
Italian -Fascist Rome
Bulgarian -Orthodox Christian Rome

*Russian and Ottoman claims are only to be considered i guess, since other two tried to relate to "new Rome" but without real logical basis.

Holy Roman Empire (the "first Reich") -Roman Catholic Reich, Lutheran Reich, Calvinist Reich
German Reich (the "second Reich") -Protestant Reich, Roman Catholic Reich
Greater German Reich (the "third Reich") -Nazi Reich
_____________ Reich (the "fourth Reich") -______________
these are to be considered:
Western Imperium -Neo-Nazi Reich
United States of America -Protestant Reich, Catholic Reich, Atheist/Agnostic Reich

*Nazi(Greater) German Reich is widely considered to be the "third Reich", although there are other, less possible solutions

edit on 23-3-2011 by animalz because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 03:05 PM
reply to post by animalz

Yes, you're right ... I was wrong about the Third Roman Empire, it officially does not exist ...

Btw. I think that the Third Reich is not necessarily Nazi, both of these empires through history did both good and bad things... They saved Europe many times from many invasions, but there were periods when lunatics like Hitler and Stalin ruled too... That doesn't necessarily mean that their ideology is still ongoing.

posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 06:20 AM
reply to post by op0sum

Yes Op0sum, I totaly agree with you. It's just that, "third Reich", is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. There was/could be something else that would fit into this name better then they did, but in the end it is widely accepted name by historians these days, so I think we should just skip/move to the "fourth Reich", a term used to describe a theoretical future successor of the "third Reich".

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