Question: What caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire?
There were many reasons for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Each document in this essay explains a different reason. Some causes were: political, economic, social, and military differences and problems. Basically, the problem was that the gap between the rich aristocrats and the poor serfs got bigger and bigger; the rich got richer as the poor got poorer. Also, when something grows, it always falls back down.
In Document 1, an excerpt from a book was taken out.
According to the authors, the basic problems facing the Western Roman Empire came from the people that gave up devotion to the old civilization and didn’t believe that it was worth saving. Why should they care about their land if they weren’t allowed to take part in government say, they couldn’t form groups to protect themselves, and were even excluded from their own army? The practically jobless people realized that their cities were slowly falling, but no one bothered to stop their decline; it was something that had to happen.
The loss of popular support to the oppressive government, increased government corruption, division of the empire, and internal power struggles were some political causes that led to the fall of Rome.
In Document 2, two causes for the fall of Rome were: the large size, and the introduction to Christianity. Because the Empire grew too large, it became uneasy to control. It was inevitable for the fall to occur, no matter how much anyone tried. Jesus’ introduction to Christianity also started a change. The clergy (priests) helped change the moral values of society. It no longer mattered much, and military power was buried or thrown away. The rich’s wealth was taken away and given to charity (poor).
In Document 3, the Muller’s explanation for the decline was an economic issue. As the Empire grew stronger, so did economy. When the Empire started to decline, business ceased and there was little progress, so that also crashed along with the empire itself.
Slavery caused another problem to the Roman Empire. Slaves took the jobs of farmers; bosses preferred slaves (low wages); farmers were left unemployed. They fled to the cities for search of better life, only to find more unemployment, famine, and bad living conditions. In this case, poor farmers lost jobs and land and became even more poor, while the rich landowners/slave owners got richer because they could pay less (for slaves as opposed to farmers) and hire even more slaves. This is an example of “the rich getting richer; the poor getting poorer”
In Document 5, the cause of problems in the military was that of “international decay” rather than external enemies. There was a lack of Roman soldiers, therefore, foreigners filled in their spots. Germans composed the poorly trained Roman Army. This means that they were not loyal to Rome because it was not their heritage and belonging. They fought for money rather than the love of the country.
The cause of the “Fall of the Roman Empire” was Rome’s weakness in every way: politically, economically, socially, and militarily. The upper class devoted themselves to luxury and weren’t interested in caring about the ones below them, while the lower classes gave up devotion to their country’s aristocrats and this gap between the two eventually broke up the empire, and chaos ruled over the region for many years after. This unstoppable event was necessary and there’s no way that people could’ve kept on living the way they were any longer.
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