Is America the next Rome? There are certainly enough similarities between the two empires to suggest so. Both were formed as free republics upon a constitution that included checks and balances. They each experienced a meteoric rise to power followed by a sustained period of global influence. America even stole Rome’s eagle mascot- those sneaky Yanks!
The parallels are not entirely coincidental. American founding fathers openly used the Roman republic as an influence when declaring independence from Britain in 1776. After a period of oppression, Americans hoped to create a social and religious sanctuary similar to what the Romans had accomplished 1500 years earlier. In both cases, this was done through a democratically elected bipartisan government.
Then, as Rome had done, America established itself as a global influencer. They pushed for worldwide spread of both hard power (military) and soft power (culture) as is detailed in historian Cullen Murphy’s 2007 book, Are We Rome?
Unfortunately, not all good things last. The Roman Empire collapsed after 500 years of bliss in 476 A.D. Multiple factors led to its decline including:
-Continually feuding political parties that became more focused on blocking the opposition than helping the people.
-Similarly, the United States congress experienced their least productive year in 2014 with a record low number of bills passed plus a record high number of filibusters.
-Rising costs of elections caused Roman politicians to feel more indebted to financial supporters than the public as a whole.
-The 2012 US Presidential contest cost an approximate $2.6billion in campaigning funds according to The Economist.
-Rome was in a constant state of war. They believed that by spreading militarily, they could also spread Roman culture. Ultimately, the Romans spread themselves too thin.
– America has consistently been involved in at least one ongoing war since it’s conception (Revolutionary, Civil, WW1, WW2, Iraq, Afghanistan and everything in between. Not to mention the wars on drugs, poverty, and obesity. Plus Cupcake Wars, Battlebots, and March Madness. The list goes on.)
-Rome collapsed after the murder of Julius Ceaser.
-Tens of Little Ceaser pizzerias are closing across America every day. And when was the last time you saw an Orange Julius?
-Non-Roman historians record that the empire had hotheaded nationalism and alienating beliefs that other countries should learn from their example.
-Perhaps America still has time to make this Roman wish come true by studying the past in order to avoid repeating mistakes in the future. For the time being, however, it’s still best to identify as a Canadian while traveling.
What do you think? Is America the next Rome? If so, are we fated for a similar collapse? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.