This week we are going to connect the past to the present. Many commentators compare the United States to the Roman Empire. But I personally think it makes more sense to compare the United States to the Roman Republic (ca. 509 BC – 27 BC). Numerous American Founding Fathers explicitly studied the Roman Constitution and were inspired by aspects of it when creating the fledgling republic after winning Independence from the British. See especially the concept of “checks and balances” that our friend Polybius described:
So this means studying WHY and HOW the Roman Republic abandoned the republican form of government is particularly interesting and poignant. Please read the following article and then answer the questions in a robust paragraph (5-6 sentences
- What are some of the similarities between the United States (1789-2019) and the Roman Republic (509 BC – 27 BC)?
- What does this Smithsonian article argue caused the decline and fall of the Roman Republic in the first century BC?
- Why do you think historians like Edward Watts draw parallels between the decline of the Roman Republic and the current United States? Do you agree? Why or why not?