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America: Rome Revived

DECLINE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE
by James Quinn
August 2, 2009

The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight.  — Edward Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

After ruling much of the known world for centuries, Rome fell due to a number of factors that, historians believe, would not have been fatal in isolation, but that proved terminal in combination. Military overspending and overreach, an untenable economic system, and currency debasement all played a role. As has been well documented, the Roman emperors attempted to distract the populace from the increasingly dire reality of their situation by providing bread and circuses. But entertainments could not stop the nation-state from yielding to the pressure of its own weight.

There are numerous parallels between the end of the Roman Empire and the path the 226-year-old American republic is now on. One difference in these fast-moving times is that empires can rise more rapidly, but are also likely to decline more rapidly.

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