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History Essay

1112 words - 5 pages

The Fall of the Roman Empire

Corey Aiken
History of Western Civilization 201- D03
16 April 2013

The fall of the Roman Empire cannot be attributed to one single event. This process took several hundred years, and only resulted in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern half-wealthier, more populous, less afflicted with civil wars, and less exposed to barbarian invasions- survived as the Byzantine Empire until the middle of the fifteenth century (Perry, Chase, Jacob, Jacob, Von Laue, 2009). There are several reasons for the decline of Western Rome such as: the role of the Germanic tribes, along with political, military and spiritual considerations and economic conditions.

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As more and more land was acquire by the tribal people, the need for tax revenue increased. To add financial stress, the presence of the Persian Empire made it necessary to have a large army on the eastern part of the empire. This same army could have theoretically been used to fight off the barbarians. Funding so many military endeavors proved to be a large financial burden on the empire and led to uncontrolled money inflation.
Economic troubles also contributed to the fall of this empire. Several plagues and wars during this time caused the population to dwindle. In addition to that the birth rate did not rise, because families were afraid to expand with such uncertainty in the future. Because of the decrease in people, taxpayers had to bear the extra burden to pay for the food, uniforms, and armors of the soldiers. Many in the lower class simply could not bear this financial burden. To secure the funds the government began resorting to forcibly collecting taxes. This caused many peasants to flee their farms, and seek protection from large landowners, and others resorted to becoming outlaws. Also, fewer people meant less agricultural workers, which was the main economic source for the empire (Perry, et.al 2009). Most importantly less people meant less manpower for the army. This would eventually lead to the barbarization of the army, consequently contributing to the demise of the empire. Another reason for the economic concerns during this time was the lack of technological advances. Several advances were made during this time but the practice of slavery prevented a breakthrough in production technology. This was because slaves had very few reasons, if any at all to invent better ways to work.
Another reason for the demise of the Roman Empire was the political decision to separate the Empire into eastern and western parts. Because of this western emperor’s no longer received financial resources from the east to protect the frontier. Trade also suffered as a result of this decision.
The United States can learn several things from the demise of the Roman Empire. First we should be careful not to stretch ourselves to thin, especially in the War on Iraq. The American Economy is already weak, and trying to do too much overseas can have tragic effects at home. For example the inflation of the gas...

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