By Charles S. Maier
Modern the USA, with its exceptional armaments and ambition, turns out to many commentators a brand new empire. Others angrily reject the designation. What stakes could being an empire have for our identification at domestic and our function overseas? A preeminent American historian addresses those concerns in mild of the historical past of empires due to the fact that antiquity. This elegantly written booklet examines the constitution and effect of those mega-states and asks even if the U.S. stocks their features and behaviour. Eschewing the normal specialise in present U.S. overseas 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 no longer continually understood. Marshaling a awesome array of evidence--from Roman, Ottoman, Moghul, Spanish, Russian, chinese language, and British experience--Maier outlines the necessities of empire all through background. He then explores the workout of U.S. energy within the 19th and 20th centuries, rigorously examining its fiscal and strategic resources and the nation's dating to predecessors and competitors. To inquire approximately empire is to invite what the us has turn into due to its wealth, inventiveness, and objectives. it's to confront lofty nationwide aspirations with the realities of the violence that regularly attends imperial politics and therefore to question 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 difficulty 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
Historians have often fretted over this process of appropriation. Unwilling to admit frankly that to dominate can be satisfying, they have tried to accept the rationalizations of service, the protestations of altruism. No one need doubt that “service” is a valid impulse. Imperialism provided the immense ego gratiﬁcation of being needed, of playing a historical role, of aiding development and progress. And after the adventure ended, there was a sense of meanness, of loss, of reduction, whether demoralizing the Dutch who had to leave the Indies, the French who quit Algiers, or the British who left behind so many peoples in mortal conﬂict.
The emperor claims a special sort of authority. Its essentials were the personiﬁcation of rule, an intimate relation with military resources, and some sort of moral grandeur that even kingship (which supposedly had religious legitimacy as well) could not bestow. It also meant that dynastic succession was important, but sometimes less conﬁned to a particular family. 23 The Holy Roman Empire included monarchies such as Prussia and Württemberg and Bavaria, sovereign within their own borders and entitled to exchange ambassadors and conclude treaties or break them.
First of all, not all foreign-language equivalents mean “empire” or just empire precisely in the Anglo-American sense. The German word Reich also referred to the national realm more generally and was retained to designate the nation-state during the Weimar Republic. Imperial Germany would brieﬂy be and have an empire, but it was an empire only in a restricted sense. There were Danish, Polish, and French minorities within the frontiers of 1871–1918, but they were no more salient than the minorities that many national states enclosed earlier or later.