How do I relate this quote to the fall of the Roman Empire?  “A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.” -Benjamin Franklin The Roman Empire was corrupted "internally". How can I describe this quote in relation to the "internal corruption"? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

By the third century Rome was at crisis level due to the severe pressures on the northern borders of the empire. In the east, Rome was threatened by the rise of the Persian empire. In the north, the Germanic tribes including the Visagoths and the Huns posed an ever increasing threat to Rome's security. These issues eventually led to internal economic instability because the Roman government had to continually raise taxes to pay for their massive military effort. As a result, more and more 'government' was required to administer services that were neglected due to rising inflation. Taxes continued to increase, while services rapidly decreased within the empire.

The quote refers to Franklin's belief that big government will eventually cave from the outside in simply because it cannot sustain itself if it bites off more than it can take in. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial