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The United States is the most powerful nation in the world and it often acts unilaterally, but is it an Empire? Though some insist that "empire" means only direct rule over large-scale conquered territory, the United States today looks decidedly imperial. The term empire has entered common usage, not only among critics but also among advocates of muscular US policy and global superiority. Economist Niall Ferguson has written about the British Empire as a lesson-book for contemporary US power. Influential Washington neo-conservatives are using the E-word freely, insisting that the United States is the world's most benevolent nation and that it should use its imperial power robustly to expand "freedom" across the globe.

This section considers not only the utility of the Empire concept but also the way in which the United States (empire or not) deploys its economic, political and military power globally, limiting the force of international law, shrinking the capacity of international organizations, and reducing the possibility of multilateral action and democratic self-governance in an increasingly interdependent world. We ask also: what limits will this empire encounter, can it sustain "full spectrum dominance" for the forseeable future or will it provoke such broad opposition that its era of hegemony and prosperity comes swiftly and decisively to a close?

General Analysis of "Empire"

This section examines the Empire concept and provides a general analysis of US empire building. The section posts a wide range of materials, including articles from pro-imperialists and critics of empire, as well as articles debating whether the US, China and others constitutes empires?

Former Empires and Comparative Analysis

Throughout history, empires have risen and fallen. This section looks at previous empires, including the British and the Roman empires.

US Westward Expansion

This section provides articles on the Westward Expansion of the United States to the shores of the Pacific.

US Military Expansion and Intervention

This section looks at the military expansion of the US since independence in 1776.

Economic Expansion

This section posts information on economic expansion, including the role of the large transnational companies, the international financial institutions and conflict over natural resources.

US, UN and International Law

This section posts articles on US policy towards the UN, international law and treaties.

Challenges to the US Empire

This section deals with a range of challenges to the US empire, including the rise of economic and geopolitical competitors to the US, "Imperial Overstretch," the huge trade deficit, and opposition from civil society.

Media and the Project of Empire

This section links to critical information on media coverage of the US empire building, including ways in which the media shape opinion, reinforce prejudice and create images in support of official war policies.

Humanitarian Intervention?

This section follows the debate about “responsibility to protect? and considers the possibility that "humanitarian intervention" may serve as a dangerously vague justification for invasion and empire.

"War on Terrorism"

This site deals with the idea of the "war on terrorism," and how it is applied to justify military interventions.

Historical Documents and Maps

This section provides a selection of historical documents and historical maps depicting the individual steps of US expansion.

Tables and Charts

This section posts tables and charts on Empire? including information on US military expansion and signing of international treaties.

Links and Resources

This page provides links and resources relevant to Empire.




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