THE TWO REPUBLICS
ROME AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
By A.T Jones
ROME, in its different phases, occupies the largest place of any national name in history. Rome, considered with reference to government, is interesting and important. Considered with reference to religion, it is yet more interesting and more important. But when considered with reference to the interrelationship of government and religion, it is most interesting and most important. It is Rome in this last phase that is the principal subject of study in this book. As in this particular Rome occupies on extreme and the United State of America the other, the latter is considered also, though the plan and limit of the book has made it necessary to give less space to this than the subject deserves.
The principle of Rome in all its phases is that religion and government are inseparable. The principle of the government of the United States is that religion is essentially distinct and totally separate from civil government, and entirely exempt from its cognizance.
As it Christianity that first and always antagonized this governmental principle of Rome, and established the governmental principle of the United States of America, the fundamental idea, the one thread-thought of the whole book, is to develop the principles of Christianity with reference to civil government, and to portray the mischievous results of the least departure form those principles
WITH the exception of Britain, all the permanent conquests of Rome were made by the arms of the republic, which, though "sometimes vanquished in battle," were "always victorious in war." But as Roman power increased, Roman virtue declined; and of all forms of government, the stability of the republican depends most upon the integrity of the individual. The immortal Lincoln's definition of a republic is the best that can ever be given: "A government of the people, by the people, and for the people." A republic is a government of the people" -- the people compose the government. The people are governed by "the people" -- by themselves. They are governed by the people, "for the people" -- they are governed by themselves, for themselves. Such a government is but self-government; each citizen governs himself, by himself, -- by his own powers of self-restraint, -- and he does this for himself, for his own good, for his own best interests. In proportion as this conception is not fulfilled, in proportion as the people lose the power of governing themselves, in the same proportion the true idea of a republic will fail of realization.
of this, in the very nature of the case they became the most powerful nation of all ancient times.
But their extensive conquests filled Rome with gold. With wealth came luxury; as said Juvenal, --
"Luxury came on more cruel than our arms,
And avenged the vanquished world with her charms."
In the train of luxury came vice; self-restraint was broken down; the power of self-government was lost; and the Roman republic failed, as every other republic will fail, when that fails by virtue of which alone a republic is possible. The Romans ceased to govern themselves, and they had to be governed. They lost the faculty of self-government, and with that vanished the republic, and its place was supplied by an imperial tyranny supported by a military despotism.
In the second Punic War, Rome's victories had reduced the mighty Carthage, B. C. 201, to the condition of a mere mercantile town; and within a few years afterward she had spread her conquests round the whole coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, and had made herself "the supreme tribunal in the last resort between kings and nations." "The southeast of Spain, the coast of France from the Pyrenees to Nice, the north of Italy, Illyria and Greece, Sardinia, Sicily, and the Greek islands, the southern and western shores of Asia Minor, were Roman provinces, governed directly under Roman magistrates. On the African side, Mauritania (Morocco) was still free. Numidia (the modern Algeria) retained its native dynasty, but was a Roman dependency. The Carthaginian dominions, Tunis and Tripoli, had been annexed to the empire. The interior of Asia Minor up to the Euphrates, with Syria and Egypt, was under sovereigns called allies, but, like the native princes in India, subject to a Roman protectorate. Over this enormous territory, rich with the accumulated treasures of centuries, and inhabited by thriving, industrious races, the energetic Roman men of business had spread and settled themselves, gathering into their hands the trade, the financial administration, the entire commercial control, of the Mediterranean basin. They had been trained in thrift and economy, in abhorrence of debt, in strictest habits of close and careful management. Their frugal education, their early lessons in the value of money, good and excellent as those lessons were, led them as a matter of course, to turn to account their extraordinary opportunities. Governors with their staffs, permanent officials, contractors for the revenue, negotiators, bill-brokers, bankers, merchants, were scattered everywhere in thousands. Money poured in upon them in rolling streams of gold.: -- Froade.1
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