Fall of Western Roman Empire Paper
There are many causes for the fall of an empire. Around 476, the Western Roman Empire, consisting of locations such as Gaul, Spain, North Africa, and Britain, fell. In the following paragraphs, reasons for the decline of the Western Roman Empire will be described. One factor explaining why the Western Roman Empire fell was its location or geography. Western Rome had to defend a large, long border along the Rhine and Danube rivers. Since it could defend itself so little Gaul, Spain, and other places were constantly being invaded by Germanic tribes like the Huns, Franks, Burgundians, and Vandals. These invasions led to famine and robbery in Western Rome. The citizens of Western Rome depended on the strong landlords that controlled their villas for protection.
Another reason for the fall of the Western Roman Empire was the use of slaves, which caused the growth of large estates (Doc 3). The growing military and bureaucracy forced the government to receive more income by raising taxes, which the elite escaped, making the burden fall onto the peasantry (Doc 4). Raising Taxes was also another reason for the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The peasants barely had enough to feed themselves, and no surplus in crops or other things to pay for taxes. Farmers fled the land and moved to cities, adding to unemployment there. The incomes declined even further and manpower shortages forced the military to hire German mercenaries (Doc 5). Many Germans were not entirely loyal to Rome, meaning trouble. The cycle led to a weak central government and aided in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
A third reason to why Western Roman Empire fell was Christianity (Doc 2). The active virtues of society were discouraged, and a very big part of public and private wealth was given to charity and devotion. The church and the state were distracted by religious groups, which sometimes ended in bloodshed. The emperors were distracted by religious assemblies, …