America and Rome: Legends of the Fall

When people find out my area of expertise is Ancient Rome, the conversation eventually turns to the similarities between Rome and America usually culminating with some version of the question “Do you think America will fall like Rome did?”

Such questions are indeed appropriate. The American Founding fathers borrowed heavily from the Ancient Romans, asking themselves as they founded a new nation: “What caused the success of the Ancient Romans and can we copy it?  And oppositely, what caused the Fall of Rome, and can we do something to avoid it?”

In latter posts, I hope to discuss specific areas of imitation and innovation.  For this post, the point I wish to make is this:  America does have a great deal to learn from the flow of Roman history, but if we were to compare America’s trajectory to that of Rome’s, we would discover we are not at the end of the story, but in the middle, at a far more critical juncture

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