How Great Societies Fall

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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 mo...

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