Roman Imperialism




Additional Information

Read more
Published on
Dec 31, 1914
Read more
Read more
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
My purpose in the following pages has been to analyze, so far as the fragmentary sources permit, the precise influences that urged the Roman republic toward territorial expansion. Imperialism, as we now use the word, is generally assumed to be the national expression of the individual's "will to live." If this were always true, a simple axiom would suffice to explain every story of conquest. I venture to believe, however, that such an axiom is too frequently assumed, particularly in historical works that issue from the continent, where the overcrowding of population threatens to deprive the individual of his means of subsistance unless the united nation makes for itself "a place in the sunlight." Old-world political traditions also have taught historians to accept territorial expansion as a matter of course. For hundreds of years the church, claiming universal dominion, proclaimed the doctrine of world-empire; the monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire and of France reached out for the inheritance of ancient Rome; the dynastic families, which could hold their own in a period of such doctrine only by the possession of strong armies, naturally employed those armies in wars of expansion. It is not surprising, therefore, that continental writers, at least, should assume that the desire to possess must somehow have been the mainspring of action whether in the Spanish-American war or the Punic wars of Rome.


However, the causes of territorial growth cannot in every given instance be reduced to so simple a formula. Let us imagine a people far removed from the economic pressure as well as the political traditions of modern Europe, an agricultural people, not too thickly settled and not egged on by commercial ambitions; a republic in which the citizens themselves must vote whether or not to proclaim a war and in voting affirmatively must not only impose upon themselves the requisite war tax -- a direct tribute -- but must also go from the voting booths to the recruiting station and enroll in the legions; a republic, moreover, in which the directing power is vested in a group of a few hundred nobles, suspicious of the prestige that popular heroes gain in war and fearful of a military power that might overthrow its control. In such a nation are there not enough negative cross currents to neutralize the positive charge that rises from the blind instinct to acquire? Such a nation was the Roman republic.


©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.