By Charles S. Maier
Modern the USA, with its extraordinary armaments and ambition, turns out to many commentators a brand new empire. Others angrily reject the designation. What stakes may being an empire have for our id at domestic and our position in a foreign country? A preeminent American historian addresses those matters in mild of the heritage of empires seeing that antiquity. This elegantly written booklet examines the constitution and impression of those mega-states and asks even if the U.S. stocks their features and behaviour. Eschewing the traditional concentrate on present U.S. international coverage and the new spate of professional- and anti-empire polemics, Charles S. Maier makes use of comparative background to check the relevance of an idea frequently invoked yet now not continually understood. Marshaling a striking array of evidence--from Roman, Ottoman, Moghul, Spanish, Russian, chinese language, and British experience--Maier outlines the necessities of empire all through heritage. He then explores the workout of U.S. energy within the 19th and 20th centuries, conscientiously examining its monetary and strategic assets and the nation's courting to predecessors and competitors. To inquire approximately empire is to invite what the USA has develop into because of its wealth, inventiveness, and pursuits. it truly is to confront lofty nationwide aspirations with the realities of the violence that frequently attends imperial politics and hence to query either the prices and the possibilities of the present U.S. worldwide ascendancy. With studying, dispassion, and readability, between Empires deals daring comparisons and an unique account of yankee strength. It confirms that the problem of empire has to be a priority of each citizen. (20070601)
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Extra info for Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors
Germany and Britain could trade intensively with each other, but they must compete to dominate noncapitalist territories abroad, which alone could provide markets and cheap labor. “Capital needs the means of production and the labour power of the whole globe for untrammeled accumulation; it cannot manage without the natural resources and the labour power of all territories.
Glory, faith, greed, the love of demonstrating prowess, competitiveness, ambition, fear of being preempted all count as primary motivations. We can try to untangle them, but not justify them. Cortez’s soldiers conquered the Mexica “to serve God and for the love of gold,” Bernal Díaz del Castillo wrote in the sixteenth century. Motivation becomes a problematic issue only when historians— who can be critics, but are often rationalizers, of imperial projects— seek to justify motivation as selﬂess or altruistic or self-sacriﬁcing.
D e s p i t e a l l t h e l a t e r i n v i t a t i o n s , we still have to return to early conquest. Americans do not usually envisage the absorption of North American territory as part of an imperial program, in part because it seemed foreordained at the time and inevitable ever since. 4 Ironically, the Indians had fared best when they could navigate as bargainers for alliance between the French and British empires in North America through the mid-eighteenth century. It was the British triumph in 1763 and then the 26 What Is an Empire?
Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors by Charles S. Maier