Reasons for the Fall of the Western Roman Empire Essay
Reasons for the Fall of the Western Roman Empire
There are many pieces of writing containing facts and inferences about the reasons of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. After reading selections from a number of writings on this topic, it is somewhat clear what the main reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire were.
The vast majority of the people in those times believed that the old civilization was not worth saving, and that contributed to the fall of the empire, according to Gatzke from what he wrote in a textbook. Another more arguable reason for the fall of the empire is that it was simply too big. Because of it’s vast size, it was difficult to control and maintain order. Christianity was legalized when Constantine converted to it when he was the Roman Emperor. The introduction of Christianity was another heavy blow to the empire, because Christianity discouraged the active virtues of the society at that time, killed off military spirit, and some public and private wealth was consecrated to Charity.
The Roman Empire was so vast because of how many battles it fought in and won. When the empire was out for expansion, they gained conquered territory and used the new resources (such as plundered wealth and markets) to fuel the prosperity, but when the empire ceased to expand, economic progress also ceased.
The Roman Empire could not afford to slow economic progress however, because the government had very large expenses, most of which were created by the army and the bureaucracy. The army had it’s own internal problems rather than just economic. Another factor that contributes to the fall of the Western Roman Empire is that there was a shortage of children, and foreigners began to pour in to be apart of Rome’s army, soon the Roman empire was composed mostly of Germans. This was internal decay.
In an attempt to pay the large expenses owed, the government raised taxes on the people, and this only made matters worse. The effects of high taxation on the people were pretty disastrous, people lost hope and left their responsibilities, tenants fled from farms and businessmen fled from their occupations, private enterprise was crushed, and the state was forced to take over many kinds of business to keep things going. Welfare was introduced, and although it seems good to society today, back then it made things worse for the empire. People stopped being so self-reliant, and they expected something for doing nothing, basically they were made lazy.