One of the pillars of world history concerns the fact that learning about one’s past is an asset for predicting and dealing with one’s present and future. Indeed, various historical events that took place long ago tend to repeat themselves over the course of world history, encouraging scholars to raise awareness on these precedents to avoid them in the future. A prime example of such a precedent is the fall of the Roman Empire – the event that has changed world history forever. In terms of this critical thinking paper, an attempt will be made to assess the possibility of the empire fall in the context of today’s issues in the United States.
The Fall of the Roman Empire
One of the major causes behind the collapse of one of the mightiest states at the time was the dissonance between the democratic political system that existed on paper and absolute monarchy prevailing de facto. As a result, the empire’s government became rather oppressive, creating severe pressure on the Roman residents (Gibbon 2020). The authoritative form of ruling resulted in the thrive of corruption. Finally, the state itself was suffering from various invasions that disrupted the Romanians’ integrity.
As the empire was overwhelmed with the need to fight the invaders, Romanians were forced to sponsor the state military by paying incredibly high yet unfair taxes. Moreover, the overall economic situation of the state was inefficient and doomed to fail due to its overreliance on slavery (Gibbon 2020). With the ongoing economic and political problems, it was rather difficult for the Romanians to remain supportive of their state and feel patriotic about the state’s current affairs. As a result, society was going through a patriotic crisis followed by the social gap increase, where the difference between the welfare of the rich and poor residents was immense (Gibbon 2020). Such a division resulted in the increase in individualism as a driving social force.
The United States in 2021
One of the most severe issues striking the state of political affairs in the modern US is the polarization between the leading parties. The difference between democratic and republican approaches to the US political agenda results in the Americans being divided into two rival camps (West and Iyengar 2020). The economic gap between middle-class and well-to-do Americans requires reconsideration of income rates and tax systems. According to the studies, many Americans are currently dissatisfied with their income, as they are not capable of planning their future and secure financial stability for themselves and their families (Oishi, Kushlev, and Schimmack 2018). Modern American society is overwhelmed with various issues. The protests related to racial discrimination that emerged in 2020 continue nowadays, as such precedents as the COVID-19 outbreak reveal the implicit racial biases in the pandemic response (Devakumar et al. 2020). Political polarization is also an influential factor in terms of social well-being for modern Americans.
Having taken into consideration the aforementioned facts, it would be safe to assume that today’s situation in the US might eventually lead to a collapse. However, unlike the fall of the Roman Empire, the US scenario should be evaluated through the prism of modern context. Hence, although both the US and the Roman Empire experience such issues as the development of individualism, economic discrepancies among the population, and social discrimination, the US remains a democratic state. Thus, Americans have the chance to resolve issues by addressing the government, which means that the revolutions and modifications may take place without a full-scale national collapse.
History as a process of critical evaluation of various precedents often tackles history’s ability to repeat itself in the future. Thus, when speaking of such events as state collapse, it is of paramount example to critically assess the actions leading to the fall in order to avoid such consequences in the long-term perspective. When evaluating the current state of affairs in the US, it may be concluded that despite a number of issues, it is unlikely to repeat the experience of Rome due to the difference in the events’ context.
Devakumar, Delan, Geordan Shannon, Sunil S. Bhopal, and Ibrahim Abubakar. 2020. “Racism and Discrimination in COVID-19 Responses.” The Lancet 395 (10231): 1194.
Gibbon, Edward. 2020. The History of the Decline of the Roman Empire: Volume Eight. Germany: Jazzybee Verlag.
Oishi, Shigehiro, Kostadin Kushlev, and Ulrich Schimmack. 2018. “Progressive Taxation, Income Inequality, and Happiness.” American Psychologist 73 (2): 157.
West, Emily A., and Shanto Iyengar. 2020. “Partisanship as a Social Identity: Implications for Polarization.” Political Behavior: 1-32.