Introducing his observations on the history of western civilization in Tragedy and Hope, Caroll Quiqley outlines the following progression as typical:

  1. Formation (by varying means)
  2. A gradual beginning of development
  3. Vigorous expansion (see below for sub-categorization)
  4. Crisis of Organization – a recognition that the expansion is no longer tenable in present form
  5. Reorganization
  6. A Golden Age (or Universal Empire)
  7. Internal strife, secondary crisis during which factions develop and ability to defend against outside aggressors is called into question
  8. Decline and eventual conquer by another civilization

Within the period of “vigorous expansion”, the following areas usually grow:

  • population
  • land dominion
  • means of production
  • knowledge

According to Quiqley, this pattern can be discerned in civilizations since the beginning of recorded history.