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The main reasons the united states could fall like rome

Have a suggestion to improve this page? To leave a general comment about our Web site, please click here Share this page with your network. One of the major themes that transcends throughout middle school history courses and beyond is having students critically think about why civilizations developed, where and when they did, why they became dominant, and why they declined. As students learn about various cultures, they are identifying enduring contributions and constantly making connections between ancient and medieval worlds to our own today.

An important aspect of studying any civilization is learning what kind of government it had. How were decisions made? What kind of relationship did a government have with its people? In our seventh grade Medieval and Early Modern Times history course we begin where their sixth grade Ancient Civilizations course left off, with revisiting the Roman Empire.

Specifically, we review the early strengths and lasting contributions of Rome and we analyze the causes and effects of the vast expansion and ultimate disintegration of the empire. Since it is widely believed that Rome's government as a republic and then as an empire has much to do both with Rome's success as well as its demise, in this unit government will be one of the main lenses we use to look closer into Rome's dominance and decline.

  1. However, a closer look suggests that we may not be too far behind Rome's model of making great strides in technology and then relishing in our achievements without producing more. In regards to lead poisoning, this remains a serious environmental illness that is entirely preventable.
  2. However, in my classroom we call 'K'. Rome, after all, was one of the world's most sophisticated civilizations, and its aristocracy was highly educated.
  3. In this article Tolson draws many comparisons between Rome then and the United States today. Indeed, barbarian invasions proved to have grave consequences for Rome.
  4. We're not using the Huns or Visigoths, but we are using Aegis and Blackwater. The mismatch of ambitions and resources.
  5. As this unit on the fall of the Roman Empire will be our students' first direct exposure in the school year to democracy, it is important to begin where our students are at, with assessing what students already know about democracy.

In the Yale National Initiative 2008 seminar, "The Theory and Practice of Democracy", one major area we focused on was the arguments for and against democracy in the western tradition. Though Rome's government cannot claim to have been a democracy throughout its reign, Rome was founded on democratic principles. If we accept that Rome's government is a useful lens to analyze the Fall of Rome through, and if we agree that Rome's government was infused with democratic ideals, then it follows that in our analysis of the Fall of Rome we must also consider the role of democracy, specifically, how was democracy's presence or absence a factor in Rome's fall.

By the seventh grade students will have been formally exposed to the idea of democracy throughout elementary school, and will have been indirectly exposed to democracy simply by living in the United States and observing in our government who holds power, and how citizens participate in democracy.

The idea of democracy is more heavily emphasized towards the end of our seventh grade Medieval and Early Modern Times history course.

At this time students learn about the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment is a critical period of study for transitioning student attention toward United States history in the eighth grade. Subsequently, a civilization's government, and specifically here, the influence of democracy, resonates as a theme throughout middle school curriculum, and definitely beyond.

As this unit on the fall of the Roman Empire will be our students' first direct exposure in the school year to democracy, it is important to begin where our students are at, with assessing what students already know about democracy. By accessing their prior knowledge and giving them terminology to use, we are not only affirming what our students already know, but we are also re-emphasizing a necessary social sciences skill, making historical connections to our lives today.

In relation to this unit, learning lessons from Rome's fall to apply to our lives today is precisely what we are doing when we will continually come back to these overarching questions: Why did Rome Fall? Is the United States next? The Medieval World and Beyond" for going on three years now, I have found their approach to history to be very interactive, creative, and engaging as it recognizes the importance of teaching to multiple intelligences.

Instead, I have aimed to use "History Alive! According to our "History Alive! The introductory chapter in our curriculum, "The Legacy of the Roman Empire", which is the chapter this unit is based around, is not an exception to the confines of our district pacing guide. However, knowing that other school districts have different time parameters for their coverage of curriculum, I have adapted this unit to be taught in the timeframe of anywhere from one week to up to three weeks.

Americans looking towards Rome as a point of reference is not a new idea. Since before the American Revolution we have been trying to model ourselves after Rome, especially Rome the Republic when we ourselves were emerging as a republic.

The main reasons the united states could fall like rome contrast that ideal with the tyranny of the Roman monarchy before the republic - and of course they equated that tyranny with Britain's. With the image of a virtuous Roman republic in front of them, they pursued the dream of an American republic.

They had Roman governance on their minds: This was an ideal that was very much in the thinking of people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison" Tolson 2007. However, the comparisons do not end there and some believe that the Roman Empire that replaced their Republic provides even more opportunities for comparisons with our own evolution.

No longer do we look to Rome for only heroic stories of its rise and zenith but also for stories of its decline and eventual fall. Though we can argue whether the United States is an empire or not, what we cannot deny is that Rome and the The main reasons the united states could fall like rome. During America's inception our founders were greatly hoping that our model would be Rome of the republic, though they greatly feared that one day we would become Rome of the Caesars for according to J.

Fears goes on to define an absolute superpower as being "a nation that is dominant militarily, politically, economically, and culturally" Fears 2005. According to his definition, the United States is absolutely a superpower. Though "we may never produce a Beethoven or a Bach, a Goethe or a Shakespeare [because] that is not how our culture dominates. In this way we understand that our superpower status has much to do with global consumption of American popular culture, enabling America to rule far beyond our borders.

Murphy agrees with Fears that a civilization's power goes beyond just military strength the main reasons the united states could fall like rome also including what he defines as "the 'soft power' of language, culture, commerce, technology, and ideas" Murphy 2007.

Both Rome and the U. Although we cannot ignore that the United States is only in its third century of existence, whereas the Western Roman Empire lasted for over a millennium, both also have in common their abilities to molt repeatedly from their previous selves.

Clearly there are many popular comparisons to make between Rome and the United States that are all worth further investigation. In addition to those, Murphy encourages us to think beyond easy comparisons by advising us to think "less about decadence, less about military might, and more about how our two societies view the outside world, more about the slow decay of homegrown institutions.

Think less about threats from unwelcome barbarians, and more about the healthy functioning of a multi-ethnic society.

Think less about the ability of a superpower to influence everything on earth, and more about how everything on earth affects a superpower" Murphy 2007. Following his recommendation, this unit allows students opportunities to closely examine ten popularly held theories for why Rome fell.

After being exposed to these theories students will apply their findings to the state of America today, ultimately deciding for themselves what lessons, if any, there are for the United States to draw from Rome's fall. The revered historian Edward Gibbon in his now classic text, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, put forth several internal weaknesses within the Roman Empire that, he believed, ultimately led to its demise.

However compelling his arguments were, historians remain in disagreement about the most likely reasons for the fall of their empire, no matter how big or detailed the issues may be.

Heather reminds us that in our inquiry the "barbarians" should not be overlooked, especially since they provided military manpower for desperate and diminishing Roman legions towards the end of Rome's reign, essentially becoming "armed outsiders" Heather 2006.

  • Decline in Morals and Values Many often cite Rome's decline in morals and values as a major reason for the fall of the Roman Empire;
  • However, in the third century A;
  • However, what would be the equivalent of barbarians invading, taking over, and eventually conquering, for us in the United States today?
  • A New History of Rome and the Barbarians;
  • This was merely the beginning of increasing barbarian attacks, raids, and eventual takeovers of more and more land throughout the Roman Empire.

Heather is seeking to challenge the great narrative of this traditional history by sharing in his book, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, that in recent times academia is getting to know more about "a later Roman Empire, [one] that was not on the brink of social, economic and moral collapse, and a world beyond its frontiers that was not characterized by simple, unchanging barbarism" Heather 2006 xii.

In this vein, Heather, along with other similarly minded historians want to change "the image of the 'civilized' but ever declining Romans implacably at war with 'barbarian' outsiders" Heather 2006.

Why Rome Fell and Is the United States Next?

Not only should we avoid underestimating the strength and strategy of the barbarians, but we should also be aware of "the many instances that our sources provide of barbarian-Roman cooperation and nonviolent interaction" Heather 2006.

Staying abreast with historians like Heather and the evolving schools of thought in regard to Rome's fall, this unit will take into account the complex relationship between Romans and barbarians while still considering Rome's internal weaknesses as also viable causes for Rome's ultimate end.

The United States has long been compared to modeling itself after Roman Republic ideals and has also long been warned of becoming another Roman Empire. As students learn about the many reasons for why Rome declined, they can apply their findings to American society today, making history immediately relevant and tangible in their comparisons. Like the Roman Republic, the United States was founded on democratic ideals, and upon closer analysis of those governments, students can compare and contrast democratic practices in both societies.

In this way students will be able to uncover the relationship between existent and non-existent and effective and ineffective democratic practices, observing the results in both societies. Comparisons between the United States and Rome are not new, however, this ongoing debate will likely increase as similarities continue to reveal themselves. The more students can understand the multiple and complex reasons for why Rome fell, especially in understanding the difference between democratic ideals and democratic realities, the more they will be able to apply these theories to understanding the United States today.

  • The Enlightenment is a critical period of study for transitioning student attention toward United States history in the eighth grade;
  • But this isn't enough;
  • As students learn about various cultures, they are identifying enduring contributions and constantly making connections between ancient and medieval worlds to our own today;
  • However, what would be the equivalent of barbarians invading, taking over, and eventually conquering, for us in the United States today?
  • Barbarian Invasions Rome and the United States definitely see themselves as world powers;
  • Like all national myths, this was only partly true.

As students better understand the parallels and the differences between these two dominant "empires", the more they themselves will be able to participate in the larger ongoing debate about America's future, outside of just our classrooms. Ultimately our students will be deciding for themselves what role they may take in writing the next chapters of our American story.

Why Rome Fell In order to hypothesize whether or not our American 'empire' will fall into the footsteps of Rome, we must first explore reasons for why Rome fell. Since there is not an agreement across all historians for the exact reasons why the Roman Empire collapsed, we will examine ten popular reasons here. Historians like Gibbon, Heather, and Murphy have all put forth their opinions about Rome's demise through their own findings.

Barbarian Invasions

In order not to discredit any one particular viewpoint, while also not solely following another, the ten theories on the fall of Rome that this unit revolves around have been chosen from the "History Alive! The rationale of the ten theories on the fall of Rome are: Decline in Morals and Values, 3. Environmental and Public Health Concerns, 4.

Excessive Military Spending to Defend the Empire, 5. Rise in Christianity, 9. When presenting these theories to students it is important to stress that this list does not contain the only theories for Rome's fall, ending our discussion here.

Rather, this list merely reflects ten of the most popular theories in this area and that whether or not they think one theory in particular, a few, or all are sound, or if they think none weigh valid, they are entitled to their opinion as long as they can show evidence that they are thinking and basing their views on history.

In this way, this list of ten theories becomes an entry point for students into this long-contested dialogue among historians, which now, they too, will be equipped to participate in. Barbarian Invasions Rome and the United States definitely see themselves as world powers.

To maintain such an unwavering self-perception it also follows that these two powers see non-Romans and non-Americans as outsiders, and more or less, inherently inferior. In relation to the United States, Murphy asks "what accounts for such an attitude toward the world - this strange mixture of studied ignorance, intense involvement, and instinctive withdrawal?

Is it a form of the 'moral barrier' that some say separated insiders and outsiders in Roman eyes - and which also may have constituted an 'information barrier'? Is it a sense of superiority? There's certainly some of each of these things" Murphy 2007. In relation to the Romans, the very word they used for outsiders: Clearly, both Rome's and America's self-righteous perception was followed by viewing foreigners as less than themselves.

For many years the Roman army was able to defend themselves from the barbarians of Germany, keeping their outsiders at bay. However, in the third century A. Despite having a strong and well-equipped army, the Germanic 'barbarians', hunters and herders from northern and central Europe, gradually began to raid and take over Roman territory in Greece and Gaul.

This was merely the beginning of increasing barbarian attacks, raids, and eventual takeovers of more and more land throughout the Roman Empire. These takeovers eventually lead up to the decisive conquest of Odovacar, a Germanic general who overthrew the last Roman emperor, proclaiming himself ruler of all of Italy.

Roads and bridges were left in disrepair and many fields were left untilled. Pirates and bandits made travel unsafe. Cities began to decline and trade and business began to disappear" Bower et al the main reasons the united states could fall like rome. As Heather advises, the barbarians gradually became a powerful force, who, some argue, were greatly responsible for the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Indeed, barbarian invasions proved to have grave consequences for Rome. However, the question remains: To bring this discussion back to one of our main questions in this unit about the United States possibly falling just like Rome, we must ask what implications from barbarian invasions in Rome are there for us.