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Old 2009-02-07, 19:55   #1
McBumLuv

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Default My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

Well, due to Masterceo's demand that I post it on IRC, and the fact that it doesn't totally suck, I'll just post my Latin class essay detailing many of the similarities between Rome and America. I wish I had started on it earlier, because there was more I'd have liked to include, but I think there's enough in it. Tell me how you like it.

I tried getting as much of the original format in, though I'll include a PDF Document (couldn't fit it into the Word document size restrictions) containing it if you want it to look purdy. Please don't plagiarize without reference, though. It IS my intellectual property (except of course for the quotations), no matter how bad/good the quality of the ideas are.





All world powers apply their influence throughout the world by exerting their cultural, economic, diplomatic, or military strengths. Of those four characteristics, however, it’s easiest to see the effects that arise when any nation employs its military. By far the least subtle means of supremacy, military conquest is often the most direct. All the nations great enough to have obtained the label of “superpower” have always asserted their power with at least some military might, though often in varying amounts. One of the most admired empires in this regard was the Roman one. It displayed the importance of an efficient professional military needed to control the known world. Along side it is the American empire, a current superpower often compared with Rome, with good reason. Both nations overthrew their suppressive monarchs and gained sovereignty through revolutions. America and Rome developed as world powers principally through military conquests. Each nation even declined due to their over-reliance of military and the mismanagement of it in their budgets. The Roman Empire and the United States of America both rose and fell due to their reliance of the military.

Rome and America started their route to domination in a similar fashion. Though little is known about the specifics of Rome’s foundation, it’s often noted as 753 B.C. (In 535 A.D. Dionysius Exiguus, a Syrian scholar, provided arguments to show that Jesus was born in 753 A.U.C, or “Ab Urbe Condite”, meaning since the founding of the city). Between its founding and 509 B.C., Rome was ruled by seven kings, of which at least three were Etruscan. The end of the monarchy was sparked by Tarquin the Proud's tyrannical rule, where he executed many of his opposers and ruled through his own will. This, along with his invasion of Volscians, a tribe inhabiting southeastern Latium, contributed to the revolt. Isaac Asimov notes that,
Tarquin was exiled in 509 B.C. (244 A.U.C.); thus Rome had spent two and a half centuries under its seven kings. Now we enter a five-century-long period during which the Roman Republic managed first to survive and then to grow mighty. (Asimov, 23)

This Roman revolution is uncannily similar to the American Revolution. A few major differences include the reasons (a large part of the reason behind the American Revolution was due to taxation to pay for colonial defense, giving rise to the phrase “no taxation without representation” used by patriots during the war), and the means behind each revolution (the Romans simply closed the city gates on Tarquin as he returned home, whereas the Americans had to wage a revolutionary war to gain their independence). Apart from these distinctions, both would-be empires debuted similarly. Like Rome, America was governed by a foreign monarch, King George III during the revolution. Following each state’s respective power struggle, they both created their own republic designed to represent the people. The violent change of government affected both nations deeply, and gave them both a new sense of patriotism. With their new found liberty, both nations developed to form empires through great acts of military might.

As Rome and the United States’ grew out of their secluded shell, so did their lust for power. Even before they were on their way to becoming superpowers, both states were confronted with numerous obstacles blocking their path. After dominating Italy, Rome was faced with a fierce opponent competing for control to her southwest: Carthage. The rivalry between the two states spanned the length of the three Punic wars, between 264 and 146 B.C. The wars ended in Rome’s favour, however, and Carthage was burnt down to the ground during the third and last of the wars. Rome also annexed the Iberian peninsula and parts of northern Africa. America, while not having as great a foe as challenging as Carthage was to Rome, faced a similar obstacle on its way to power. In 1898, the United States declared war with Spain, resulting in the Spanish-American War. The Americans fought mainly naval battles, and ended up annexing the Philippine Islands and Cuba at the end of the war. Both conflicts, the Punic wars as well as the Spanish-American war, relied on the importance of a strong navy. Rome initially lacked a true navy, as,

They had ships, of course, but small ones; none that could possibly dare approach Carthaginian ships of war. The Romans didn’t even know how to build large ships; How, then, could they hope to battle at sea?
(Asimov, 77)

They had nothing to parallel their opponents with at sea, and had to reverse-engineer a wrecked Carthaginian quinquereme, a “ship with five banks of oars, instead of the three banks in the much smaller Roman triremes.” (Asimov, 77-78.). America, who already had a navy established, was forced to update her own. For they had all these islands around the globe and needed a navy to get to them and keep order. While the need to create and update the navies may seem like a hinderance, they actually provided new tools for each growing states to conquer. The navies could now transport troops to places unavailable by land, and each country gained quite a bit of land through which they could stage new military and diplomatic operations. Both wars were obstacles in each states’ route to dominance, however each war also strengthened them so that they could expand even more.
With each country taking over the known world through military might, it’s ironical that the prominent military of each nation is also what made their empires fall. In Rome, barbarian invasions throughout the empire prompted Rome to invest in its military. This had unfortunate side effects of huge taxation on peasants, resulting in the loss of agriculture and cultivating lands. In his book The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Military Explanation, Arthur Ferrill explains that,
...the decay of trade and industry was not a cause of Rome’s fall. There was a decline in agriculture and land was withdrawn from cultivation, in some cases on a very large scale, sometimes as a direct result of barbarian invasions. However, the chief cause of the agricultural decline was high taxation on the marginal land, driving it out of cultivation. Jones is surely right in saying that taxation was spurred by the huge military budget and was thus ‘indirectly’ the result of the barbarian invasion.
(Ferrill)
The American empire is currently in decline, and information is either very biased or nonexistent. However, according to War Resisters League (WRL), the United States may be spending as much as 54% of their income tax on military, from paying the military personnel to research and development to war allowances (These last few are educated guesses by WRL, as the United States Government does not provide the numbers behind expenditures on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars). With their complete concentration on military, other crucial parts of running any country, let alone a superpower, are forgotten. The current economic crisis that the US is undergoing is wildly accepted to be beyond the point of no return. Both empires reached climaxes still unprecedented, but were dragged down by their over attention to their military.

Rome and military owe their conquests as well as their loses due to their reliance on military. They both violently overthrew their oppressors, starting a history of violent actions. They started developing as empires through almost purely militaristic means. They finally fell in a sick twist of irony by the very means that gave them their prestigious status of superpower. What remains to be seen is if any future would-be empire can learn from the mistakes of its predecessors.




Works Cited or Consulted

Asimov, Isaac. The Roman Republic. Second Printing. New York: HMCo, 1966.

"American Revolution." Wikipedia. 2008. Wikimedia. 18 Dec 2008 <American Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia>.

Trask, David. The War with Spain in 1898. 2nd Edition. New York: The Free Press, 1996.

Ferrill, Arthur. The Fall of the Roman Republic: The Military Explanation. New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1986.

"The Federal Pie Chart." War Resisters League 2008 18 Dec 2008 <The Federal Pie Chart>.

"Decline of the Roman Empire." Wikipedia. 2008. Wikimedia. 18 Dec 2008 <Decline of the Roman Empire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia>.

"Lucius Tarquinius Superbus." Wikipedia. 2008. Wikimedia. 18 Dec 2008 <Lucius Tarquinius Superbus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia>.

Zeitgeist: Addendum. Dir. Peter Joseph. DVD. Self-produced. 2007.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Essay on Rome.pdf (37.8 KB, 3 views)

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Old 2009-02-07, 20:14   #2
sekiryu

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

I'm kind of confused about how we're an empire. Empires rule many countries....we rule one.

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Old 2009-02-07, 20:20   #3
HughJass

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

sekiryu america is a "modern empire." Meaning that we don't have to have our names written there to own it.

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Old 2009-02-07, 20:21   #4
BetterDeadThanRed

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

Before I make any real judgment, what grade are you in?

If this were for high school, I would be impressed at the amount of research you did and amount of quotes and information you brought into your analysis.

If this were college, I would nail you on your brevity and superficiality of your analysis, merely stating facts for both sides and only making nominal connections and tending to stray away from an in depth analysis of a greater perspective towards generalization.

One such fault I see would be:
Quote:
The American empire is currently in decline, and information is either very biased or nonexistent.
Say's who? What is your reasoning? What is your proof?

I'm not saying whether it is or it isn't, you just tend to merely state things without explaining your reasoning. By stating that we spend "54% of our income on defense spending" is nice, but what does this demonstrate? You might make the connections in your head, but the reader may need a little help.

Another would be:
Quote:
They had nothing to parallel their opponents with at sea, and had to reverse-engineer a wrecked Carthaginian quinquereme, a “ship with five banks of oars, instead of the three banks in the much smaller Roman triremes.”
For an essay this short, do we really need to get the specifics on how a quinquereme is assembled? When writing my disertation on military restructing, I fell into the same traps of becoming overly specific, and my paper was close to 20 pages long. Speak more broadly when dealing with ships and such and only start to get into those technical details if you are writing something more along the lines of a book.

If this were a major research paper I'd say do a little bit of revising. The Roman and American revolutions are similar, great!, but what does this prove? Does this show that a nation emerging from a revolution will have strong nationalism and be more likely to succeed? Your essay doesn't say.

LeMazing.
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Old 2009-02-07, 20:24   #5
sekiryu

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

Quote:
sekiryu america is a "modern empire." Meaning that we don't have to have our names written there to own it.
So, what countries do we "own"? We have military presence in many countries, but we don't own any of them.

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Old 2009-02-07, 20:52   #6
masterceo

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

sekiryu, you don't own any countries, but america does have great influence in some.

I like your essay very much McLuv, it isnt long but it's still detailed. From what you wrote i can say that you have put effort in researching and you base your theory on books of competent and great writers. Good luck in writing your speech ; )

Priby:Why cant i be norwegian?
H.sta:becouse we are a specially selected bunch of people created by god to show how awsome mankind can be
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Old 2009-02-07, 20:59   #7
McBumLuv

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

Yea, betterdeadthanred, I'm in my sophomore year at highschool, and if I had the time and resources to put more information into it, I would have. I was only given about 2-3 weeks or so to write it, so I was only able to get so much information in, and from so many sources. The area is extremely broad, and one of my own criticisms has been that I should have picked a more specific topic and focused on that, rather than actually having tryed to write on such a huge topic with so little time. For instance, just a few other references I would have loved to use would have been Edward Gibbons The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

When I say that the empire is on the decline, I speak out of my opinion (Which is what an essay is of course), but I mean in the sense that the economy is currently going downhill, and is most likely going into a depression. America spends the more money on it's army than any other nation in the world, and I believe its military budget will decline along with the rest of its economy. If it doesn't, then it would just lengthen the economic failure at the very least. Though when I say it's empire is on the decline, I don't mean to say that it will suffer any barbarian sackings or split like the Roman empire did, but that it just won't hold the same great power and influence over the world as it did. It will still be one of the biggest countries in the world, only that it won't have an absolute say in world politics.

At Sekiryu, I refer to America as an empire not as a state that controls colonies directly, but in many cases indirectly. Especially in South America, where the term Banana Republic was coined, after America would make sure through direct or indirect means that the leaders in power favoured American corporations with lower prices and more American friendly rules put in place. It is a world super power, and a modern empire. not necessarily imperialist in the ways that the European countries are, or in the sense that it has an emperor as it's head like Japan, but in the sense that controls many countries through indirect means, which isn't too disimilar from what Rome had done with Egypt and other client states.

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Last edited by McBumLuv; 2009-02-07 at 21:40..
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Old 2009-02-07, 21:19   #8
sekiryu

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

More like an economical empire?

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Old 2009-02-07, 21:37   #9
McBumLuv

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

Well, economical, but also militaristic in a sense because of how proliferated its military is. I was hoping to include this photo, but while I didn't in the end, it does give some evidence on how much influence in the world:



I would also like to say that a powerful America isn't actually a bad thing per se. With good leaders, a powerful country can accomplish much greater progress in the world with power than with checks and balances, for instance in Rome with the Five good emperors, there was an unprecedented time of peacefulness shared by the Romans. However, without these checks in place, any bad leader can ruin all progress made by a series of good leaders, clearly visible in cases with Fascist governments such as the Nazi party in World War II.

As Roosevelt's saying goes: "Speak softly and carry a big stick", if we want the most influence throughout the world, it is best done with power backing you. But If you ever actually use that power directly, not only do people begin to know what to expect, but they also won't give as much respect to the unknown. Thanks for the comments so far though, it's nice to have finally written about something more than "Name three things about a character in a book" as a subject for an essay (highschool essays are soooo easy, imo).

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Old 2009-02-07, 22:52   #10
gclark03

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Default Re: My Comparative Essay on Rome and America's developement as empires.

Good for your level, but the writing has a lot of nagging style issues that can only be corrected by grammatical genius. As you gain experience, they will slowly go away - they did for me.

As for the work itself, it makes a lot of assumptions, especially the assumption that its sources are correct. An example is this line: "The current economic crisis that the US is undergoing is wildly accepted to be beyond the point of no return." Says who? Nobody I know or have heard of 'wildly accepts' that the economy is absolutely f*cked at this point.

Also, 'The current economic crisis that the US is undergoing...' is both incorrect and overlong. It would be better to say simply 'The global economic crisis...', and specify the US as the subject of being economically f*cked in the second portion of the sentence, if that's the opinion you want to make.

In addition, how does one 'wildly accept' anything? I think you meant to say 'widely accept', which cannot be proven and cannot be placed into an essay like this.
---

Those are the nagging mistakes that can only be prevented by constant practice and a bit of literary legerdemain. Keep up the good work, but don't forget to improve. I like it.
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