There is no dearth of published parallels of the American polity with the Roman Empire — and no dearth of refutations, either — but, it seems that a closer similarity can perhaps be found between the United States as it exists today and the Republic. We must recall that the stories we associate with Roman dissipation, Tacitus’ class-based calumnies notwithstanding, belong mostly to that period. To the republic also belong the great existential trials of the rising nation, personified as they are in Hannibal and Mithridates, not to mention Spartacus.
It behooves us to remember, also, the personalities that shaped the waning days of the Republic, and their motivations. The Gracchi, those early populists, began the dissolution that was completed in due course by more capable and no less ambitious men, and women too. The question we should be asking then is not how America is like the Empire — which, after all survived in various guises for over 1500 years — but how like the Republic — on which, we should recall, it was intentionally modeled by its founders. If like the Republic, then, what developments are likely to lie in our future? It is received orthodoxy now that, teleologically, democracy is the ultimate development of states, but what if, like in the ancient times, it is nothing more than a short-lived aberration?