This lesson highlights the economic role of government in the period leading up to the fall of Rome. Like most lessons on government, it emphasizes the beneficial aspects. However, unique to this lesson, it investigates some of the weaknesses of government by focusing on some of the governmental decisions that contributed to the fall of Rome. This investigation helps students understand why governments, like markets, can and do fail. Specifi cally, this lesson discusses how even well-intentioned government offi cials may make decisions that are not in the best economic interests of citizens.