An Influential Legacy With hearing the constant news of politics and the presidential race for the oval office, United States citizens are in the process of choosing a presidential candidate with the best leadership qualities. The choice of the next President will impact not only the political and economic future of the United States, but more importantly, the rest of the world. A strong leader may be able to keep peace and prevent war.
However, the inability of the United Nations to keep rogue nations, like Iran and North Korea, from destabilizing their neighbors will fall on the leadership of the new President and the arbitration of Congress. To find the unique leadership qualities that have had such a long term impact on societies, a study must commence of the most renowned rulers of both ancient Greece and Rome since it will assist us in understanding the roots of effective political leaderships.
Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar are two legendary figures who provided us with the political and cultural foundations that are still in use by most western nations. Their combined legacies have contributed to our current system of democracy. The citizens’ power to elect representatives for the Senate, originated during these leaders’ reigns. A strong President, much like a Greek king or Roman Caesar, must provide the stability and leadership required during times of crisis.
While Alexander espoused democracy for the people he conquered, Julius infused western civilization into the territories he acquired. Thus combined, they provided a new form of supremacy to the people that served as a basis for many leaders. In this case, the more powerful and effective leadership is portrayed by Julius Caesar not only because of his redesign of politics, but also his advances in military and cultural achievements. Alexander the Great was able to conquer half of he known world at that time, thus exponentially expanding his once small kingdom of Mesopotamia into a mighty empire. Even though Alexander was thought to be a man who could conquer any civilization, India’s military was actually much larger and stronger than the Greeks so the country was left untouched (“Introduction”). Due to this failure to invade India, the country was never impacted by the Greek culture, despite Alexander’s ability to influence various countries that surrounded it.
An instance of this similar situation would be the many countries including Russia and the U. S. , that have attempted to conquer modern-day Afghanistan but to no avail. Greeks, Romans, and Persians all have tried to control this area, but due to their lack of a central government, and since the population lives in tribal communities separated by mountains, no empire has conquered them. During the Mesopotamian king’s quest for supreme sovereignty, Alexander “invaded Asia Minor in 334 BCE purportedly to free the Greek colonies… [and] in between he took the Levant [Syria] and Egypt” (“Introduction”).
As a king, he wanted to increase the fortune of his kingdom, and therefore focused on securing lands with major ports for trade accessibility. In order to succeed, great nations require worldwide access to seaports to trade their products benefiting their economy’s wealth, which is the exact trade strategy that the U. S. Navy uses today. Worried that the Macedonians’ loyalty lay with a foreign leaders, such as Cleopatra of Macedon and Antipater, Alexander then “systematically killed all possible royal claimants to the throne … urdered the daughter of Philip and Cleopatra, and then forced Cleopatra to commit suicide” (“Alexander”). The king used intimidation and merciless actions to extend the Greek culture by threatening other empires into accepting him as their new leader. The U. S. has a similar mentality in spreading democracy, especially to those in Middle East, but instead of intentional killings, they overthrow dictators and strongly encourage formation of new political parties. This process is a lot more civil and less vengeful due to heir attempt to make conflicts fair, but the message of democracy is not well received by most Islamic States.
Julius Caesar’s aspiration to gain more power for the Roman Empire allowed him to take control over lands, such as Gaul and Britannia, which had never been successfully invaded before. Towards the climax of his reign Julius declared, Panem et Circenses, meaning “bread and circuses” which was claimed as “the formula for the well-being of the population… that] offered a variety of pleasures such as: the distribution of food, public baths, [and] gladiators” (“Panem”). To prevent the possible collapse of an empire, rulers need to provide a way to keep their citizens from rebelling due to problems like hunger and high taxes. Julius cared greatly for the condition of the population, and in response created a global distribution where every part of his empire would receive the resources needed for sustainability and satisfaction.
In today’s times of need, the U. S. along with the United Nations exchange ideas and discuss regional problems that ensure cooperation and assistance of one another. The U. N. is also used to resolve complications between countries without having to resort to war that will only damage both sides of the conflict. The overall effect of this collaboration between nations actually benefit the lives of all citizens worldwide, as issues concerning their public health and safety are solved peacefully.
While in Egypt, Julius noticed how advanced the Egyptian calendar was, and brought this information back with him to Rome. With his new knowledge, he ordered that the Roman Calendar be corrected to align with the seasons, with a total of 365 days in a single year (Yenne 193). This achievement served as a major influence to the Gregorian calendar, since the day distributions were so mathematically precise, which is still the most commonly used calendar in the world today.
In fact, the Gregorian calendar only made minor alterations to the Julian calendar after Pope Gregory XIII respected Julius’s leap year calculation, and in return allowed the month he was born in to be named “July” in Caesar’s honor. Julius Caesar’s new military strategies and advanced formations transformed the Roman army into a loyal and seemingly unstoppable fighting force. In many historical documents, there have been multiple reports of the consistent admiration and loyalty that the Roman soldiers had for Caesar.
This is due to the fact that he would sympathize with his soldiers by enduring the same hardships that his men were going through, for instance; choosing not to drink water when his armies were suffering from dehydration (Strauss). Unlike other modern-day dictators, such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, who prefer to command their infantries through fear, Julius knew that by securing his allegiance among his soldiers, he would not have to deal with future dilemmas such as rebellions and a declining of the empire.
Today countries such as Libya prove that an overpowering dictatorship eventually creates revolts that rise up violently to remove the source of the tyranny. Libya has been thrown into a state of chaos, due to no longer having a central leader who was the only person keeping the country united. Julius also gained respect from his men through his cunning execution of army tactics that proved to be quite successful no matter the enemy or situation. He kept his strategies fairly consistent by using “an aggressive and full-frontal attack[on the battlefield], whilst terror and revenge tactics were… sed to subdue local populations” (Cartwright).
Like the United States, Julius utilized the nearby towns to his advantage by terrifying the populations into evacuating so that there was almost no people remaining to reinforce the enemy lines. In Iraq, the U. S. Air Force dropped pamphlets from the sky that warned citizens to evacuate the city, otherwise the remaining civilians would be considered enemy combatants during the upcoming invasion. Along with intimidating his enemy’s reserves, Julius also adjusted the overall setup of the Roman army.
In shrinking the army into a smaller formation of only 7,000 men, soldiers were placed into a checkerboard pattern by alternating veterans, first class privates, and rookies, in each line (Cartwright). Influenced by this arrangement, the U. S. adopted Julius’s creation of smaller army units allowing for swifter attacks while younger soldiers now had the opportunity to be closely mentored by a veteran. This tactic speeds up the basic training process, reducing the time it takes to make a soldier ready to fight for their country, but it also prevents the creation of an inexperienced Greek militia.
Without these new reforms, the Roman military would have never reached its full skilled potential as well as become the prime example for all subsequent infantries. Once elected into the consul, Julius changed the Roman Republic causing a new political system to rise up to society’s needs. In Rome, employment rates were rapidly decreasing so in response Caesar” [required] that every landowner hired one free man for every two slaves working in his field” (“Julius Caesar’).
The ability to gain favoritism of the lower classes by providing them greater benefits can be viewed though the United States political parties. Even President Obama changed the tax code requiring upper class citizens to pay more taxes in order for the lower class to receive more social benefits, like health care. This gives a huge advantage because now a leader has secured his position with a large quantity of devotees who will make sure that their preferred candidate will be re-elected after each term.