What Stuff Did The Us Inherit From Ancient Rome

The United States of America is a result of a multi-layered history blended with different cultures and civilizations, adding to its unique character. One of the most influential of these was Ancient Rome, a civilization whose architecture, government and culture would last for centuries and shape the modern world. Even though the Roman Empire eventually fell, its impact would be strongly felt in the development of the United States.

One of the clearest implications of Rome’s influence is in the very structure of the government in the United States. The Republic of Rome relied heavily on the rule of law when governance was concerned, and the United States adopted this principle in its Constitution. The separation of powers into three branches, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency, is almost an exact replica of the powers of the Roman triumvirate.

The debt system employed by Ancient Rome had a ripple effect in preventing anarchy in the nation, and in America as well. Rome used an effective tax system to fund their government and military campaign, which the US heavily draws on for resources to this day. This system of laws and taxes is seen in the modern American government, allowing it to continue functioning despite economic hardship and war.

Rome and America have had the same type of vibrancy in their literature and oratories. Innumerable books, texts, speeches and poems by both Romans and Americans alike paint a vivid picture of the atmosphere in the two societies. These words were persuasive in nature, which boosted the morale of the people despite the severity of the Empire’s struggles.

Everyday American life contains clues of Rome’s heritage. The Latin language, which was touted as the source of culture and elegance by the Roman upper class, is studied as a foreign language in American schools. The Romans also heavily used works of art, mosaics and sculptures as symbols of their power, prestige and culture, which has been adopted by the United States in many forms.

The Romans were great engineers. Large and important roadways such as those in the United States and hundreds of bridges built in Rome are praised even today for their technical prowess, and the sturdy and well-built sections of ancient structures are in stark contrast to some of the poorer structures built today. These same engineering techniques were adopted by the US to create strong and durable landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge, which stands as a symbol of industrial progress.

Despite Rome’s fall and the centuries that have passed since its peak, the United States, and the world as a whole, still feels the impact of this ancient civilization. From their flourishing literature to their structured government, and their engineering feats, the legacies of Ancient Rome carry on and can still be felt in the modern world.


We can certainly find traces of the Roman Empire in modern architecture. Many of the oldest existing buildings around the world, for instance, were built during the Roman Empire. There are still ancient Roman aqueducts, bridges, and monuments in various parts of the world today that act as a physical reminder to the legacy of the ancient Roman Empire. This includes the famous Colosseum in Rome, which was built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian and served as an entertainment arena. It is an iconic symbol of Roman architecture and remains standing today, although in a crippled state. The architecture of ancient Rome made an enormous impact on many other nations and can be seen in the design of modern structures.

A distinct style of architecture, known as classical architecture, developed because of ancient Roman architecture. This type of architecture is easily recognizable due to its regularity and grandeur. Furthermore, there are various features that define the classical architecture of Rome such as columns, arches, and domes. We definitively find these in American architecture, from schools to monuments and from churches to shopping malls. The common feature of classical architecture is thus evident in many parts of the United States.

The similarities between Roman architecture and American architecture largely lie in the use of these classic features. Despite the large differences in design and construction techniques, the features that define classical architecture remain the same. Statues, domes and arches are indicative of this kind of architecture. These same kinds of features are found in the architecture of the United States today and are a reminder of the influences that the Roman Empire had on the development of the nation.


Education has been fundamental in the success and prosperity of many civilizations, and ancient Rome was no different. Education was held in high esteem and was highly valued in Rome. It was considered to be the cornerstone of their success, and Roman citizens made sure their children received some sort of education, no matter their social class. This was held in contrast to other civilizations during this period, as most other societies valued manual labour more.

The system of education in Rome was comprehensive and effective, and the nation is largely credited with establishing a systematic approach to education. This approach eventually spread to much of the Western world, including the United States. Many of the principles and practices that the Romans used for education have made their way into the American system. This includes the major elements of early education such as the teaching of reading and writing, as well as spelling, grammar and literature.

Apart from these basics, the ancient Romans also set the foundations for the study of mathematics, especially geometry and number theory, which were included in school curricula of their time. This later became the norm in the United States, where students were expected to learn arithmetic and geometry, as part of their basic educational requirement. In addition, the Greeks’ five-year course in philosophy, known as the Trivium, was adopted by the Romans and subsequently by the Americans, as the cornerstone of education.


One of the central principles of the Roman Empire was that it was an absolute monarchy. Absolute monarchy is, in fact, the very opposite of what the United States stands for today. However, the influence of the ancient Roman Empire on the American government is evident in the emphasis on the rule of law. This is the same principle that was adopted by the Romans, a type of system based on equal laws for all, regardless of their class or rank.

The Senate was a major unit of the Roman government, and the American government, too, adopted the same system with their Senate. It consisted of the most influential and powerful citizens who were tasked with making policy and architecture decisions. This shows the extent of the impact that the Roman Empire had on the American government.The United States also adopted the principle of checks and balances from the Roman Empire, which declared that no branch of the government should have too much power, but all branches should work in tandem to form a functioning government.

The Romans heavily relied on taxation as a source of income for the government, and punishing those who did not pay their taxes. The US government, however modernized it, but maintained the same principles. This shows that not only the form, but also the concepts and ideals of the Roman Empire had a massive impact on the American government.


The Roman army is credited with revolutionizing the way warfare is conducted and became the most powerful military force in Europe and the Mediterranean. The rules of warfare at that time were drastically different and the Roman army was better than any other of its kind. This included stricter rules and regulations such as those related to training and discipline. The army also had advanced weapons and equipment, such as advanced battle formations and the famous Roman shield.

The tactics of the Romans in their antagonistic campaigns were later experimented with and adapted by other nations, including the United States. The US military structure and organisation mirrors the structure of the Roman army in many ways. The emphasis on training, discipline, and the need for highly advanced technology to gain a competitive edge echoes the historical practices of the Roman military. In addition to this, the US military also has an emphasis on having mobile units, which can be traced back to the success of the Roman military in the form of their mobile legions.

The Roman armies also had standardised banners that each legion carried and a dedicated salute, which was shared amongst the legions. This practice was later adopted by the American military and is used to this day as a sign of recognition and acknowledgement. Additionally, the Roman Empire had a commitment to maintaining a strong navy as well, which can be seen in the naval power of the United States.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

Leave a Comment