Breakup of the Roman Empire – similar fate for American Empire?

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    Firstly, I want to thank you for the quality of both the lectures and the information provided – this site is definitely helping me fill gaps in my knowledge that my education did not provide.

    My question is this: While discussing potential reasons for the breakup of the Roman Empire, you mention the theory that the sheer size and population of the Late Roman Empire may have been too large to be governed effectively.

    I’ve seen rumblings before about the potential “breakup” of the US into smaller regional republics (for lack of a better word). In a Mises Daily article published yesterday, David Gordon comments on a book called Rethinking the American Union.

    My question lies well outside the bounds of Western Civ to 1500; however, given that the future is best analyzed through the lens of the past, do you think we may be in store for a similar future? Thanks for your time. 🙂

    Jason Jewell

    If the U.S. government continues down the same road as the Late Roman Empire in the West (debasing the currency, implementing wage/price controls, over-regulating, etc.), it’s not unreasonable to expect secessionist impulses here to increase. Something pretty dramatic would have to happen for majority opinion to swing in that direction, but it’s not unthinkable. Hyperinflation, conscription for an unpopular war, etc., could precipitate a crisis that breaks up the Union. I don’t see anything like that happening in the near term, but one never knows.


    sure just like the late Roman empire the US has inept leaders, debased currency, a lazy entitled minded populace, poor and expensive empire building in the middle east, a more immediate border intrusion issue etc.
    BTW DR. J rules!


    Yugoslavia broke up into several republics along their ethnic lines. And the Roman empire broke up along similar lines millennia before. However, with the United States I cannot readily see republics forming along those lines. Given the rampant ignorance of the general public towards federal/republic structure and the lack of concentrations of groups with similar ideas in great number… What sort of organization will be see were there to be a break up?

    Jason Jewell

    Siabaa, the individual states are historic political communities that could form the basis for a post-Union order. It’s conceivable that, for example, coastal states that are net payers to the federal government would find autonomy attractive if their security concerns were met. I think you’re right that new republics organized on ethnic lines are very unlikely.

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