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How Great Societies Fall Essay

1479 words - 6 pages

Have you ever wondered why you hear of ancient Rome and Greece, but they’re no longer there today? This is because those societies fell, or their government collapsed beyond hope of repair. Civilizations fall for many reasons, and often for a lot of different reasons at once. Some elements led to falls more than others. The cardinal causes of the collapse of great societies are political corruption, failing economy, and foreign invasion.

The first main way societies fell was from political corruption. A good example of a misguided government was in the French Revolution. While Marie Antoinette was frolicking in a field of perfumed sheep pretending to be a shepherdess and Louis XVI was getting involved in far off wars, their people were starving. While this was happening, “. . .the peasants were acutely aware of their situation and were less and less willing to support the anachronistic and burdensome feudal system” (The French Revolution Encyclopaedia Britannica 1). This means that the citizens knew about the random spending of their rulers, and didn’t want it to go on. They eventually revolted and started the French Revolution, causing the death of the royals and thousands of others. Another example of an unethical ruling body is the Praetorian Guard in Ancient Rome. Beginning as a military group to protect the emperor, the Praetorian Guard evolved into a powerful gang of soldiers who had the power to elect and dispose of emperors. They sold off the historic throne for money, and, “. . .proclaimed from the ramparts of their camp that the throne of the world would be sold at auction to the highest bidder” (The Praetorian Guard 1). This quote proves that the Praetorian Guard became corrupt, and only cared about themselves and money. Another misguided, catastrophic government was that of Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler. Hitler hated Jews for inaccurate reasons, and began bullying, prosecuting, and killing them. “Hitler and the Nazis said the Jews were responsible for huge events like losing World War One and the economic crisis. This was totally untrue” (Why did Hitler hate Jews? 1). This proves that Hitler incorrectly blamed the Jews for something they had nothing to do with. As for the persecuting, he, “. . . stripped [the Jews] of their rights and property, denied work (except forced labour for the Germans), and crammed into the worst slum districts” (Cesarani 1). This states that Hitler harassed and hated the Jews, and made their lives miserable for no valid reason. These and many other societies fell partly due to political corruption and military greed.

A second cause of societal decline is failing economy and unemployment. A civilization that weakened and fell to the issue of their deteriorating economy was Ancient Greece. In Greece, there were two main classes: the rich and the poor. The wealthy lived lives of ease, and many were relied upon by the government to sponsor holidays or games. The poor could barely keep themselves alive....

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