Compare and Contrast Ancient Rome with Modern-Day America
There are notable similarities and differences between Ancient Rome and modern-day America. Researchers have agreed that superpower societies eventually collapse. Though it is long since Ancient Rome collapsed, in its place we see in 2019, the United States, a new superpower exercising its dominance. Opinions are divided on whether America depicts notable similarities and differences with Ancient Rome. For the record, different people see different similarities among them. As a consequence, sections have revealed that they see moral decay similarities while others see pride and arrogance. Besides, there is no surprise that most people see similarities, yet there are differences that distinguish America from Ancient Rome. The two nations share similarities in terms of political, geographical, and demographic factors and notable differences that can help America escape the fate that befell Ancient Rome.
Ancient Rome and modern America are both dominant powers. Ancient Rome had a strong military unit comprising of chariots and swords. This is shared by America that has the best military in the world. The Roman Empire was so strong that it ended the Hellenistic World created by Alexander the great (Árnason and Kurt 44). America continues to show dominance in the war against terrorism in the Middle East. Consequently, Ancient Rome and America are almost similar in terms of size. Árnason and Kurt reveal that Ancient Rome and its Mediterranean lake could easily map on the lower 48 states that make up modern American society (77). The massive geographical size is important in demonstrating rich diversity, as depicted by regions.
Both nations have demonstrated global influence. For instance, Rome demonstrated influence in art through painting and sculpture. It also produced philosophers who changed the way of thinking in medicine, science, and engineering. The modern American society continues to influence space exploration through NASA and disease control through CDC. In addition, Ancient Rome and America are open societies comprising of people drawn from different cultures. There is relative freedom in these nations concerning adopting a new way of life. Culturally, Ancient Rome and modern America are similar because the former publicly shames people as part of punishment while the latter uses comedy and satire in broadcast media to shame people.
There are distinct differences between Ancient Rome and Modern American society concerning technological advancement. The former operated under the Iron Age, while the latter has managed to leap from the Industrial age all through the Biotech Age (Smil 53). America is recognized for its technological development in the field of technology and agriculture. The social media platforms like Facebook and computer companies like Microsoft have significantly changed the way people utilize information. In addition, the recent trend of manufacturing Genetically Modified Foods continues to enhance food security. Consequently, the two nations are different in relation to the abundance of wealth. Ancient Rome had dry regions, and people suffered from famine and poverty. On the other hand, modern American society has an abundance of wealth, and the economy is also good.
Ancient Rome and America are distinguishable based on the nature of governance. Rome emerged as a city-state and took long before it established a state method of governance, while America emerged as a collection of states that sought to administer itself as a continental powerhouse (Smil 43). The various states that makeup America is the core reason why America thrives on cultural diversity and political identity. Furthermore, regarding democracy, the two nations are quite distinct because Rome entrenched the aristocratic method of democracy that majorly focused on social order. America is democratic, and Democrats and Republicans consistently serve interests.
Collapse of Rome
The Roman Empire collapsed due to economic problems, overreliance on slave labor, overexpansion, corruption, and political instability. First, economic troubles saw the nation face financial crises that created chaos. For instance, the taxation system was discriminative and oppressive as it treated people and businessmen according to their social status. Later, the state neglected citizens who resorted to chaos. Moreover, Rome failed because it over-expanded its territory. Evan affirms that overexpansion made it difficult to govern the vast lands that had been acquired. Rome’s leadership lost grip and control over some regions that descended into chaos. The expansion affected communication, and in the end, Rome was unable to defend itself. Moreover, corruption and political instability made it difficult for leaders to govern the people. The political instability was characterized by inconsistent and ineffective leadership where people could not make sound decisions concerning the integrity of the Empire. As well, the Civil War thrust the republic into unprecedented chaos.
Modern America is showing signs of decline and may soon collapse. There are people claiming that America started declining when it accepted assistance from the tyrannical French King during the Revolutionary War. Foremost, Rome failed because it allowed uncontrolled entry of people within the republic. These people later become a problem making Rome ungovernable. This is similar to modern America. In view of this, the immigration rules and policies are weak allowing illegal immigrants into the country. Immigrants are a major problem for the nation. In fact, the September 11 terrorist attack is an example of what undocumented people can do to a nation’s security and stability. If the American security system was breached to that extent, then the American Empire is slowly falling.
Consequently, American society has two levels of government with states operating differently. Hence, each head of the government legislates and proclaims executive orders. For example, medicinal use of marijuana is illegal in Georgia while it is allowed in California. The fact that states making up America are not uniform based on policies and ideologies is likely to pose governance challenges in the future. In addition, Jeet reveals that Congress is consistently passing laws without conducting thorough interrogation. As a result, the effect of such actions endangers the sovereignty and stability of America because the ignored laws are touching on overspending, overtaxing, and devaluing of the national currency.
Furthermore, the population in Rome began being resentful after the republic decided to expand its territories. Similarly, the problem with modern American society is that the country is expanding its foreign policies with arrogant executives taking over the country’s leadership. Jeet posits that President Trump is behaving more like a Roman Emperor. The behaviors of president Trump are reckless and dangerous for the stability of America. Trump has successfully destroyed United States as a pillar of global power, has weakened the NATO alliance, and is currently in trade wars with China, one of the Asian allies. All things considered, America is declining based on social, economic, and political ideologies.
There are various similarities and differences between Ancient Rome and America. Based on the findings, Rome collapsed largely because the nation’s leadership lost control and could not effectively govern it. Modern America has shown signs of decline and could soon collapse because of weak immigration rules allowing many people into the republic, expansion of foreign policies, and divided states
Árnason, Jóhann, and Kurt, Raaflaub. The Roman Empire in Context: Historical and
Comparative Perspectives. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Evan, Andrews. “8 Reasons Why Rome Fell”. History, January 14, 2014.
https://www.history.com/news/8-reasons-why-rome-fell. Accessed November 28, 2019.
Jeet, Heer. “Are We Witnessing the fall of the American Empire?” The New Republic, March 7,
- https://newrepublic.com/article/147319/witnessing-fall-american-empire. Accessed December 3, 2019.
Smil, Vaclav. Why America Is Not a New Rome. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2010.