Throughout history, great empires have risen and fallen and fought each other over land, resources and people. It seems like a vicious cycle that these empires build themselves over several centuries only to fall later. The Romans, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Ottomans, the Mongols, the British, the French and now the Americans have all been known as great powers in the world. What is it that causes the disruptions that occur later to destroy great empires?
First, I think it is contentment of the people with the status quo instead of seeking the best possible way to govern a people. “It worked for our ancestors, so it must be good for us too!” we say. Without progress and reform of the government, expansion of an empire can create many problems. The Roman Empire grew from a small city-state into controlling the entire Mediterranean region in a few hundred years. Likewise, the United States of America has grown from 13 small states along the Atlantic coast of North America into 50 states and several territories stretching from Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea to Guam in the western Pacific Ocean and from Alaska in the far north to Florida in the south, yet the same government designed for 13 states is still being used for all of them!
Second, we may consider the frog in boiling water concept. If you toss a frog in water that is already boiling, it will immediatly jump out. But the same frog placed in cool water that is then sssssssllllllloooooooooowwwwwlllllyyyyyy heated will end up dead because it will not jump out, it’s cold blooded body “adapting” to the heat until it gets too hot to live. Likewise, I would suggest that if George W. Bush was doing the kinds of things 50 years ago that he is doing today (like starting a war in Iraq under false pretenses, or trying to give away our wildlife refuges to exploitation by oil companies), he would have been IMPEACHED by now or at least he would not have been reelected by the people. Sadly, it seems that the Bush administration thinks we are all frogs, but we are PEOPLE and we know what corruption and hypocrisy is, so we must fight it! Tolerance of corruption in government is another reason why empires fall.
Third, empires break up or are destroyed because of one people seeking to impose their will on other peoples. Eventually, the other peoples rebel leading to violence, destruction, hatred, killing, and ruin. While powerful military forces may build up an empire, the rebellious subjects inevitiably learn how to build up their own military, causing splits in the empire.
Today, we see evidence of all three of these tragic trends in present day American society. Ironically, the very principles of freedom and democracy that we are supposed to treasure have become so twisted that it is hard to see the difference now between America as it is now and the British colonial empire that Americans originally broke away from. With that in mind, I would recommend a second American Revolution to save ourselves from the fate of the empires that came before us!