Why do great empires (such as the Roman Empire & the United States) rise and fall? Purpose



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G. Thompson Name: __________________________________

World History 1 Date: _________ Period: _____


The Rise and Fall of Great Empires


Why do great empires (such as the Roman Empire & the United States) rise and fall?
Purpose: To understand why and how great empires eventually collapse. If we understand why the Roman Empire (the most powerful and successful empire of its time) collapsed then we can apply those same reasons and theories to the United States.
Procedure: In teams of 3, pick one question from each category to answer (total of 3). Circle the questions below. (As an individual, you will only answer one of these questions)
Leaders / Leadership

  • Who makes the leadership decisions to direct the empire and how strong were these leaders?

  • In what ways were leaders willing and able to accept new ideas and adapt to changing conditions to improve the empire?

  • In what ways did the leaders have ready sources of new information and new ideas at their disposal?

  • Identify and explain the trusted allies throughout the empire that leadership had to implement new ideas.


Strengths of an Empire

  • What were the central ideas and strengths (economic, social, political, etc.) of the empire?

  • How secure was this economic strength? Give examples and explain.

  • In what ways was the empire using its economic resources to improve itself and grow stronger?

  • Explain ways in which the empire was strong, other than economically.


Weaknesses of an Empire: What went wrong? Why inevitable collapse?

  • In what ways was the empire spending its economic resources on luxuries rather than on the means of further growth?

  • Explain why there were no new ideas, direction, or growth in the empire.

  • Explain in what ways is the leadership resistive to new ideas and changes. Why?

  • Explain in what ways the leadership was not reacting to correct obvious signs of decline in the empire.


Now apply the same three questions toward the United States today. According to your analysis, what stage is our county in – still continuing to grow or is it in a stage of decline?
What you will hand in (on Thursday, 1/27):

You will hand in all three questions thoroughly (at least 500 words, multiple sentences) answered in four parts: (please number them according the numbers listed above)



  1. Why is this question important to the understanding of why empires rise and fall? (at least 50 words)

  2. Roman Empire answer to question (at least 150 words)

  3. U.S. “Empire” answer to question (at least 150 words)

  4. What stage is our country in – still continuing to grow or stage of decline? Why? (This answer should be based off of your research comparing the Roman Empire and the U.S.) (at least 150 words)


How you should do this:

Although you will divide up the questions, having each person answer one (1), you should all discuss the questions together as a team before you break off and answer them. You are expected to help and seek help from your team members throughout your research and collaboration.


All group members are responsible for knowing and understanding each question and the answers to it. Therefore, make sure you discuss and collaborate about your research!!!
GRADING (Individual):

- Research Question: 20 points

- Group Participation: 10 points

- Class Discussion: 10 points


On Wednesday 1/26 & Thursday 1/27, I will be sitting down with groups and listening to the discussion/collaboration going on. You will be graded on this! If you are not an active member of the group (meaning you are not talking or contributing at all) you will be deducted 10 points.
Your presentation and class discussion (on Monday 1/31 & Tuesday 2/1) will account for an additional 10 points (individual grade).



GRADING RUBRIC: (please cut off and hand to Ms. Thompson on Thursday 1/27)
Name: ___________________________________________________
Research Question: _____ / 20 points

Group Participation: _____ / 10 points

Class Discussion: _____ / 10 points
Total: _____ / 40 points



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