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    July 10, 1901

    “Ancient History Which Is Also Modern. From Republic to Empire” The Signs of the Times 27, 28, p. 3.
    FROM REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE.

    WE Have seen that the history of this world, from the day of Nimrod until now, is expressed in a succession of kingships expanding into empire, until Rome’s total repudiation of kingship, and the establishment of a republic—a government of the people, by the people, and for the people—which itself expanded into empire and went to ruin; to be followed by establishments of kingships expanding into empire, until the total repudiation of kingship by the thirteen British colonies of America, and their establishment of the republic of the Untied States—a government of the people, by the people, and for the people—which itself has now expanded into empire.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.1

    And now every consideration of the subject forces the question, What shall be the result of this second expansion of republic into empire? Everybody knows that the republic of Rome went that road only to ruin; the question now is, How can the republic of the United States follow that same road without the same result?SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.2

    This question is the more forcibly suggested by the fairly startling truth, that the course of the republic of Rome is being followed step by step by the republic of the United States; these steps being followed so closely as to be veritably identical. The likeness between the two is so manifest that it is difficult to write the course of the republic of Rome, without incurring the charge of “coloring it” from the course of the republic of the United States; tho the standard histories of Rome, long ago written, are a sufficient defense against the justice of any such charge. The likeness is not in the “coloring,” but in the very texture and substance of the fabric.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.3

    Rome established herself upon the then entirely new principle, that men are capable of governing themselves by themselves, and need not kings to lord it over them; that, upon principle, men are of themselves free and as capable of governing themselves as kings are capable of governing themselves; and much more capable of governing themselves than kings can be capable of governing them.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.4

    Since all the nations were governed by kings, this new principle, from the beginning, made Rome a mark of attention to the world. And Rome was willing to be a mark of attention to the world; for of her attitude she was justly proud. Thus Rome looked upon herself, and was looked upon by other nations, and especially by oppressed peoples, as the example and conservator of liberty for the world.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.5

    When by her valuable and native faculty of self-government Rome had filled her proper home territory, and commanded the respect of the mightiest kings, she considered it to be her high prerogative to extend to neighboring peoples who were struggling against the oppressions of kings, the blessings of liberty. The first of these were the Greek States, who were ever tenacious of liberty, but who, from the example of Rome, were now tenacious of republican liberty. They were struggling peristently [sic.], and even desperately, against Philip V. of Macedon to wreak his kingly power over them.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.6

    In her native love of liberty, Rome generously espoused the cause of the struggling States of Greece, that she might extend to them, and that they might know and enjoy, the blessings of republican liberty.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.7

    Of her own free will, and wholly at her own expense, Rome sent across the seas her armies and her navies to fight the battles of the Greeks, and to deliver them from the oppression of kingships, and assure to them the great boon of liberty and the blessings of self-government.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.8

    In this Rome succeeded wonderfully. In brief campaigns she defeated Philip and the Macedonians, and forced a peace which severed from Philip’s power seven of the States of Greece. And in announcing the peace, Rome made the following glowing proclamation of liberty and self-government to the Greek States:—SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.9

    The Senate and people of Rome, and Titus Quintius, their general, having overcome Philip and the Macedonians, do set at liberty from all garrisons, imposts, and taxes, the Corinthians, the Locrians, the Phocians, the Phthihat-Acheans, the Magnesians, the Thessalians, and the Perrhœbians; declare them free and ordain that they shall be governed by their respective laws and usages.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.10

    All this was wonderfully pleasing to the Greeks. In the excess of their gratitude and joy they went fairly wild. But just as soon as they began to take steps to use the liberty and self-government thus so generously proclaimed, they found themselves balked by temporizings, reservations, and interpretations on the part of Rome. Rome entered the plea that since it was to her the Greek States owed their freedom, they were thereby bound to recognize the sovereignty of Rome in all their affairs.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.11

    The Greeks pointed to the plain words of the published proclamation. But Rome would not admit the plea; she would not stand by the obvious meaning of her own published words. By her subtle explanations and interpretations she reduced the proclamation to a mere platitude and a sheer pretense from the beginning. The Grecians appealed to the manifest justice of the case, and to the former acknowledged character of Rome as the example of liberty and justice to the world. But all in vain. They finally appealed to Rome direct: “Put yourself in our place, and decide how you would like it for yourself.”SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.12

    We hear one of the chief magistrates in the republic of the Acheans inveighed strongly, in a public assembly, against this unjust usurpation and ask by what title the Romans were empowered to assume so haughty an ascendant over them; whether their republic was not as free and independent as that of Rome, by what right the latter pretended to force the Acheans to account for their conduct; whether they would be pleased should the Acheans, in their former officiousness pretend to inquire into their affairs; and whether matters ought not to be on the same footing on both sides.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.13

    All these reflections were very reasonable, just, and unanswerable, and the Romans had no advantage in the question but force.—Rollin.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.14

    No man can deny that so far, this is a faithful sketch of the course of the republic of Rome; and no man can deny that, even to the closest detail, that course has so far been repeated, item by item, by this republic of the United States.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.15

    What, then, is the meaning of all this? Shall it be said that this is all nothing? Think on these things.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.16

    And there is more to follow.SITI July 10, 1901, page 3.17

    ALONZO T. JONES.

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