Foolish Emperors and Foolish President
The Roma Empire collapsed after an era of foolish emperors.
Now that the US looks like entering an era of foolish presidents with coming inauguration of Donald Trump, we had better check how incidents proceeded in the Roman Empire with those foolish emperors.
The two emperors who came just after Hadrian were different from any that had gone before. They were scholars and wise men, and liked the quiet of their libraries much better than the noise of armies and battles, or the traveling of which Hadrian had been so fond. But they both governed with the single purpose of making the people under their rule as happy as possible; so when it became necessary to make war to defend the empire, they did not hesitate to give up their own desires and march at the head of their armies. This became more and more necessary during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the second of these two emperors; and finally he met his death on the bank of the river Danube, fighting against the Germans who dwelt along that stream.
With the death of this great and good emperor, the "golden age" of the empire came to an end. From now on the barbarians pressed more closely on the empire, and it became more difficult to defend it against their attacks. The Romans and the Italians had lost the old bravery and skill in fighting, which had enabled them to conquer the whole world; while the barbarians had learned much about war from their long struggles with Rome. Besides this, the government now fell once more into unworthy hands. Ignorant soldiers gave the rule to men who were not fit for it; and once the position of emperor was even put up at auction and sold to the highest bidder.
So a hundred years of war and bloodshed followed. This did not cease, until at last a strong ruler named Diocletian got the power, and divided the empire into an eastern and western half, each with its own ruler, so that the people might be better defended from the barbarians, and better governed in their own countries. Many other changes were made by Diocletian; then when his work was finished, he resigned his power and spent the rest of his days in quiet, far from the struggles of war and politics.
Soon after Diocletian had resigned his power, a new emperor arose who once more united the rule over both the eastern and western halves of the empire. His name was Constantine, and he is called "the Great." He did two things which were very important. In the first place, he was the first emperor to become a Christian himself, and to allow the Christians to practice their religion openly. In the second place, he moved the capital of the Roman empire to the shores of the Black Sea, and there built a, new city which was called from his name, "Constantinople," or "the city of Constantine." Sometime after the death of Constantine the empire was again divided into an eastern and a western part; and this time the division was a lasting one. After that there was an empire of the East, with its capital at Constantinople; and an empire of the West, with its capital at Rome.
Meanwhile, the barbarians, especially the Germans, had been growing more and more troublesome. Great hordes of them at last broke through the line of forts along the Rhine and the Danube, and wandered up and down the lands of the empire, plundering and destroying for many years. Battle after battle was fought with them, and sometimes the Germans were the victors, and sometimes the Romans were; but the armies of the emperors were never again strong enough to drive the Germans out of the Roman lands.
If all the emperors of the Roman Empire had been wise and decent, the Empire should have lasted centuries more.
The key to understanding the fall of the Roman Empire must be its foolish emperors more than other factors.
So, the US of today might face the same crisis.
Mar 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.