Amy Chua’s thesis in Day of Empire is that the biggest contributing factor of the demise of hyperpowers throughout history is the loss of tolerance by the ruling entity. She believes that when the hyperpowers begin to decline they begin to blame everything on the outsiders. Sometimes this is caused by a regime change or a ruler’s search for a scapegoat. Her theory states that this intolerance causes social unrest and rebellion by the oppressed groups.
The Persian Empire ruled from 559 to 330 B.C.E. Around 2000 B.C.E. the Aryans conquered modern day Persia. The Achaemenid Empire began with Cyrus the Great and he became a king beneath Astyages in ancient Persia. In 550 B.C.E. Cyrus took complete control over the Median kingdom. By 539 B.C.E. Cyrus the Great had conquered both the Lydian and Babylonian kingdoms. After conquering a kingdom he would “decapitate” the leader (not by beheading them but by replacing the existing leader with one of his choosing). Cyrus interfered very little with those beneath the leader which kept them happy and prevented them from revolting. Cyrus almost always honored his subject’s religion by allowing them to worship in peace and not destroy their places of worship. Cyrus the Great ended his reign in 530 B.C.E. Darius the Great ruled from 522-486 B.C.E. Darius expanded the Persian Empire into India. When not occupied by military endeavors Darius was a great administrator, he built extravagant capitals, introduced a standard currency, and extended the road network. Darius also organized a navy comprised of the Greeks and the Egyptians. Alexander the Great took the throne in 336 B.C.E. immediately following his father’s assassination. Alexander continued to follow his predecessors and employ tolerance for tactical reasons. By 324 B.C.E. Greece was the most powerful empire in the world making Alexander the Great the most powerful man in the world at that time.
The Persian Empire was the first empire to master the strategic use of tolerance in order to further their ability to reign over a larger group of people for a longer period of time. The standard set by Cyrus the Great of religious tolerance helped to set the later leaders of the Persian Empire on the right track towards tolerance. When Cyrus ruled the empire the areas that he ruled were some of the most prosperous in the world. They were economically supplied by the roads and trade routes built by the Persians under Darius’ rule. This economic prosperity was prevalent throughout the Achmaenid reign. With regards to the political effects of the empire there were not many. Throughout all of the leaders they did not meddle with the local governments very much, instead replacing the highest leader with one of their own and leaving the rest relatively unchanged. This allowed the lives of the local people to be relatively unchanged which kept them content with their new leader. The replaced leaders were often given a life of luxury to prevent them from organizing a revolt. The social effects on the subjects of the all the leaders from Cyrus to Alexander were left much the same. When looking before and after at the most powerful and richest families in the local communities remained much the same.
Rome turned conquered nations into provinces of the Roman Empire much like the Achmaenid Empire. They also left local governments mostly the same. Unlike any other empire the Romans put no limit on the level of power that a person from a non-Roman nation could have. Rome looked at the past to learn from the future and in the past they saw intolerance leading to a nation’s downfall. Rome’s tolerance was just viewed as a way to facilitate the enlargement of their empire. One of the things that allowed Rome to expand so greatly is that everyone around the world wanted to be a Roman. One thing that encouraged this was that almost any male could become a Roman and wear a toga and fulfill their dreams. Trajan is considered to be...