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Rory Kemp
Kimberly Dyer
History 134
March 22, 2015

M9 Assignment: The Fall of an Empire


I think a reoccurring theme with humanity is that nothing is immortal, whether it
be ourselves or our creations. From the Titanic to the Roman Empire, even our most massive
accomplishments face their demise at some point. Three of the main factors I believe to have
caused the fall of the Roman Empire are the threat of barbarian tribes, government corruption,
and overspending. The United States isnt much different from ancient Rome when it comes to
these problems, and because of that I think the U.S. will fall just as Rome did.
The barbarian tribes posed a great threat to Romes massive empire because of the fact
that it was so large and spread so thin. Of course, the reason Rome was able to take so much
territory was by conquering the previous inhabitants of each area. Taking a territory from a group
people and attempting to occupy that area with a military rarely is successful for too long. This is
what led Rome to have so many enemies that continued and continued to fight against the empire
until Rome finally couldnt fight back successfully. Throughout its history, the United States has
pushed itself into countries such as Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan much like Rome did with
modern day Germany or France. By using its military to occupy these countries for their
resources, the U.S. has made enemies across the world. The twin tower attacks could be viewed
as a consequence of these foreign conflicts, perhaps one of many to come that will cause our
country to decay until it falls.
Government corruption led to a very unstable government in Rome that led to its demise.
In the final few centuries of the empire, many emperors came to power by having their
predecessor murdered. And while there were just and successful leaders, many of the corrupt

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ones such as Commodus exploited the government and gave themselves and any they favored
too much power and responsibility that they could not live up to. The U.S. isnt very different
from Rome in regards to its corruption. Banks like Goldman Sachs profit from economic
collapses while the American middle class shrinks and rarely face any real punishment for their
actions, no matter how illegal they truly are. This is because of the connections between
corporations and politicians that exist so strongly in todays government. While the
circumstances are different from those of the corruption in Rome, government corruption in
general leads to the few profiting while the many suffer, which never lasts in the long run.
The Roman Empires massive size not only made enemies, but cost far too much money
to uphold. As the empire began to decay, it was spending much of its funds on its militaries in
different areas of the world just to defend its borders from constant foreign threats. This is one of
the prime factors that played a role in the diminishment of the economy of Rome. The U.S. also
has a massive budget when it comes to its military, spending far more than any other country in
the world. Being trillions in debt from two wars and continuing to distribute large percentages of
tax payer dollars to both the military and corporate subsidies, it is only a matter of time before
we too can no longer sustain the military spending.
Although the two hegemonies are thousands of years apart, I believe that both ancient
Rome and the United States will suffer the same fate. The U.S. has stretched beyond its
boundaries creating enemies and losing allies, has spent far too much on wars and its military,
and its government is too filled with corruption to go on indefinitely. It is only a matter of time
before history repeats itself.