Modelling the Roman Empire?


No one who goes to DC can help being struck by how much of the governmental architecture is modelled in Rome – the Supreme Court building even has the sign of the Roman legislators – fasces – on its facade. There is no doubting that what you are seeing is the new Roman Republic. That’s not a surprise, When the Founding Fathers did what they did, the world was ruled by kingdoms and empires – republics were, if not unknown (there had been Venice after all) a rarity. It was not surprising that agrarian republicans saw the Republic of Rome as their model – civic virtue ruled. Men like Washington, who could easily have afforded to have lived a life of leisured ease, took time away from that to help govern the republic – the res publica – literally ‘the thing of the people’. They were not in it for the money – they had money – they were in it because that was what men of their standing did – just as in the Rome of old.

But the ancient republic rotted from within. Men who sought power and more wealth, bribed senators to do their bidding, masters of war used their positions to bid for power, and everything – and everyone – had a price if someone was willing to pay enough. The people could be bought off with bread and circuses, all paid for by others, and they could be brought on side by the military might of Rome. It was, in the end, easy enough for Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, to proclaim himself emperor and bring the republic to an end. Civic virtue had been hard work, and it didn’t pay well – indeed it cost you money. The temptations of power, of fame, of wealth, proved too much. No one man thought that his own corruption would bring down the republic, but when all men were corrupt, that brought it down easily enough. The temptation to go for the strong man, the man of power who would deliver security and prosperity in an uncertain world was too easily succumbed to. What was the point of being a senator if you didn’t make money by it? What was the point of office if it was not a career for life? Who really wanted to put in all that effort and find himself poorer at the end of the process? Power corrupted, and men fell for it.

The price of civic virtue was too high for the Romans of old. Has it become so for the new Romans – for the USA? Why should a President who wants to do something and has a popular mandate be blocked by Congress? Surely an executive order or two (or more) would be fine? True, Supreme Court Justices might stand in the way, but they can be replaced, and if you get your timing right, you can pack the sourt to secure the result you want? There is an awful lot of money in DC, and money talks – usually it says ‘come to me papa’ to the unwary legislator. Your state or district can have whatever infrastructure schemes will help it (and keep you in power) if only you vote the right way. There’s a reason lobbyists swarm round Congress – the same one that sees flies do the same round a cow pat.

Have we reached a stage where the old American Republican ideal (and that is Republican aas in supporters of a republic, not a party) is about to go? One of the things at issue in this year’s election will be whether the pass has already been sold, whether America is already too far down the slippery slope. It is clear that among the people there is still a longing for the old virtues – but is that so among those who aspire to lead? we shall see.


About JessicaHof
Anglican Christian, evangelist, survivor, grateful

8 Responses to Modelling the Roman Empire?

  1. Indeed one does not have to be here too long before they can see that the Old Republican or Republic ideal is basically gone in my opinion! The longing is only with some of the people, and they are on the outside looking in! Look at how the American Military Veterans are treated by the VA today, and how little is appropriated. Then look at how the Congress and the Senate lives! Just amazing disparity! Surely rotten within, just like the Romans of old! I hope I am wrong? But old America has turned the corner, with nothing in sight but the “slippery slope”! And note, I fought with the American Marines in two wars. Makes ya want to cry actually!

    Liked by 2 people

    • But sadly too, Great Britain is also gone! Gone is Britannia! Oh yes, we have at least some symbology of old, but little, very little righteousness! And here I cannot help but think of 2 Timothy’s Letter from Paul, noting chapter 3, especially verse 5!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Btw read Lamentations! “HOW doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! (under another’s control) (Lam. 1: 1, KJV)

        *And I point this at Britain!

        Liked by 1 person

        • And this is of course an “application”, and not any idea of a British Israelism!

          Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      I am afraid it does – all too often 🙂 xx


  2. Doug Lafuze says:

    I’ve been comparing the US to Rome for years now. Greed, corruption, immorality, laziness, everything we read about in history class that led to the empire’s demise are rampant here today. Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it. It’s only a matter of time unless people wake up.

    Liked by 4 people

    • JessicaHof says:

      Thank you Doug – I fear that we are right here – wish we weren’t 🙂 xx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: My Article Read (1-4-2016) (1-6-2016) | My Daily Musing

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A Paradoxical Millennial

Somewhat-alternative thoughts on Society and Culture


Totally unconditional support for Our Lefty, i.e. Me, friends.

From the Green Notebook

My thoughts on war, warfare, and leadership

Organized Lunacy

Inspiration and motivation for every life situation.


" God cannot alter the past, though Historians can. "

Charlie R. Claywell

Exploring How Being American Affects My World View.


My life as a daughter of the King

Journey Towards Easter

Discovering the beauty of truth

My Daily Musing

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies. Psalms 109:13

a story of Southern agriculture

An Unlikely Wanderer

God will give to the soul a new understanding of God in God, the old human understanding being cast aside – and a new love of God in God. - St. John of the Cross

Think Defence

UK Defence Issues and the odd container or two


Writing in words and pictures

The Catechesis of Caroline

A Catholic woman blogging about life

Changing Skin and other stories

Creative Writing and unfinished business...

Omaha News & World Report

Local, National, & World News; Expert Reviews, Biased Commentary, Raw Polls, & Random Musings

Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Joanne Begiato Muses on History

Talking through my research


The view from the Anglosphere

The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Ye Olde Soapbox

News and Views, Stimulus for the masses

World History Blog

The view from the Anglosphere

Watcher of Weasels

Keeping an eye on the weasels of the world

Villainous Company

The view from the Anglosphere

Unedited Politics

Just Political Videos

Two Nerdy History Girls

The view from the Anglosphere

Thomas Sowell's Column

The view from the Anglosphere

Thin Pinstriped Line

The view from the Anglosphere

The Tree of Mamre

Politics, religion, and life. Unapologetically conservative, Christian, and iconoclastic.

The Amateur Radio Internet Guide

The view from the Anglosphere

%d bloggers like this: