Domination or control, by one country, of one or more other countries or territories

Imperialism is a state policy, practice or advocacy of extending power and dominion, especially by direct territorial acquisition or by gaining political and economic control of other areas. Because it always involves the use of power, whether military force or some subtler form, imperialism has often been considered morally reprehensible, and the term is frequently employed in international propaganda to denounce and discredit an opponent's foreign policy.

Why We Fight

Articles

A Foreign Policy by and for Knaves, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Oct 2014
Further thoughts on "Does Freedom Require Empire" prompted by Daniel McCarthy's counterpoint article
"Even if we accept (for argument's sake) McCarthy's vision as desirable, the odds of its adoption as he intends it are nil. The private interests of the political class — and those in the 'private' sector for whom the political class acts — virtually guarantee that the power to police the world will be put to perverse objectives. McCarthy's criteria for a good intervention may be impeccable, but what grounds have we for confidence that the policy makers and their patrons will share those criteria?"
Americans Are No Imperialists, by Charley Reese, 18 Dec 2006
"I've always argued that the American people are not cut out to be imperialists. We lack the sophistication, the language skills and, to our credit, the ruthlessness that running a global empire requires. Furthermore, our main interests are in our own country. ... For most Americans, there is no place on earth they'd rather be than right here in the U.S."
Americans Should Be "Anti-American", by Sheldon Richman, 21 Jun 2006
Comments on Robert Kagan's statement that the Iraq War "made anti-Americanism respectable again"
"He likes the imperial U.S. foreign policy, so when foreign people express their hated for it, Kagan and his ilk misdirect us to think the foreigners hate us as individuals. The apologists for empire count on you not to examine the matter too closely, because if you did, you might see the merit in what the foreigners are saying."
Related Topic: United States
An American Empire! If You Want It instead of Freedom, Part 1, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Apr 2003
Examines Garet Garrett's still relevant essay "The Rise of Empire" and the concept of "unilateralism" espoused by Charles Krauthammer
"Garrett summarized what he considered the requisite signs of the emerging American Empire. First, the executive power of the government becomes increasingly dominant ... domestic-policy issues become increasingly subordinate to foreig-policy matters ... Empire threatens to result in the ascendancy of the military mind over the civilian mind ... creates a system of satellite nations ... brings with it both arrogance and fear among the imperial people ... creates the illusion that a nation is a prisoner of history."
Related Topic: Garet Garrett
UpdAn Empire Built of Paper, by Lew Rockwell, The American Conservative, 27 Mar 2006
A review of Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis (2006) by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin
"The impulse to empire helps make sense out of our huge deficits and debts or such costly and obvious blunders as the invasion of Iraq or the war on terror. ... Since the days of the Great Khan, and the barbaric clarity of his claim that the gods had given him the earth and everyone and everything in it, empires have resorted to rosier delusions, if no less fatal to victims—and sometimes citizens—than the Khan model. From the Romans to the Fourth Crusade (and their Venetian and French aggressors) to Genghis Khan to the Spaniards and Napoleon and the British, Bonner and Wiggin teach us the lessons of empire ..."
Confronting the Empire: It's time ..., by Justin Raimondo, 5 Jan 2007
"Culturally, Washington, D.C. has been thoroughly corrupted by the virus of imperialism: these guys (and gals) like the idea of running an empire. Dazzled by their own importance in the scheme of things, and hypnotized by their own hubris, the denizens of the Imperial City disdain any suggestion that we might return to our humble republican roots."
Related Topic: Washington, D.C.
Does Freedom Require Empire?, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Sep 2014
Critiques an essay by Daniel McCarthy justifying British and American imperialism by insisting that "power is the basis of the peaceful order upon which liberal democracy rests"
"Where libertarians and classical liberals historically have viewed empire as inimical to domestic freedom and free markets, not to mention the freedom and well-being of those ruled by colonial powers, McCarthy makes a historical case for reconsidering this position. Without the secure space provided by a liberal empire — first British, now American — liberal democracy could not have emerged and flourished, he insists. ... What's to keep the imperial apparatus from falling into the hands of politicians who see war and conquest as the keys not just to security but also to glory, manliness, and national greatness?"
Empire on Their Minds, by Sheldon Richman, 14 Mar 2014
Comparing recent Russian and U.S. imperialistic behavior, then delves into the imperial tendencies of the Founding Fathers and early Presidents
"... in the eyes of the Founders, the American Revolution was largely a war between a mature empire and a nascent one. (Many — but assuredly not all — Americans of the time would have cheerily agreed.) ... Some American figures glimpsed that empire and liberty might not easily so fit together. ... The problem was that even many who opposed empire, sometimes quite eloquently, wanted ends that only an empire could procure."
Empire or Liberty: The Antifederalists and Foreign Policy, 1787-1788 [PDF], by Jonathan Marshall, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1980
Describes the arguments regarding foreign policy made during the period of ratification of the United States Constitution by the Federalists and the counterarguments, "largely ignored" by historians, from the Antifederalists
"But a single government could not rule a large empire and still be responsive to the people. 'Empire' in the sense in which Americans used it in the late 18th century referred to any large territory governed by a strong, centralized government. Many Antifederalists believed that their opponents' real goal was to achieve ... a constantly growing, glorious empire. ... The military and political exigencies of such an empire would snuff out the flame of liberty, and substitute glory and might for the republican ideals of the revolution. ... they saw the ratification debate as a contest between liberty and empire."
Garet Garrett (1878-1954) On Empire, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 5 Aug 2000
Related Topic: Garet Garrett
Hell-Bent on War, by Justin Raimondo, 14 Feb 2007
Discusses propaganda and other efforts by the George W. Bush administration and neoconservatives to launch military action against Iran, and relevant commentary from a professor of international relations as well as Russian President Putin
"Putin put his finger on it when he challenged the neocon vision of a 'unipolar' world '... it refers to one type of situation, namely one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.'"
Related Topics: Iran, War
How Empires Bamboozle the Bourgeoisie, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 28 Oct 2006
"... the people must be bamboozled into accepting some ideological rationale for government to expand and become an imperial power ... If people are religious, the rulers can claim that empire is necessary for religious reasons. If they have a fear of some ghastly ideology like fascism or communism, the leaders can say that they are staving off such systems."
Imperial Hopefuls, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Feb 2007
Reflects on the coming United States presidential campaign and election and suggests the candidates are running for the job of emperor
"The U.S. government has been building an empire for decades. ... the underlying theme has been ...: America, because it is exceptionally enlightened and has been anointed by history, must lead the world. To do so it must maintain a worldwide network of political and economic interests, client states, and allies. Those interests must be continuously protected and nurtured, preferably through local leaders, but if necessary by direct intervention."
Related Topic: Politics
Libertarianism and the War, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Apr 2007
Criticises a Cato Unbound sympsium titled "Libertarianism: Past and Prospects" with contributed essays from Brian Doherty, Brink Lindsey, Tyler Cowen, Tom G. Palmer and Virginia Postrel
"No one can match libertarians in their principled critique of imperialism and their opposition to a foreign policy of aggression. America stands at a crossroads: one path leads to empire, and the other takes us back to our origins as a constitutional republic."
Liberty or Empire?, by Patrick Henry, 5 Jun 1788
Excerpt of speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention; criticizes several clauses of the proposed Constitution and warns about the possibility of a U.S. President becoming even worse than a king
"If we admit this consolidated government, it will be because we like a great, splendid one. Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire; we must have an army, and a navy, and a number of things. ... But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire."
Non-Marxist Theories of Imperialism, by Alan Fairgate, Feb 1976
Examines writings of critics of imperialism that are not based on Marxist analysis
"A major reason for this failure has been the lingering taint attached to theories of imperialism by those who continue to view them as necessarily the product of a (fundamentally flawed) Marxist economic analysis. ... Studies are now needed which will systematically analyze ... the more sophisticated and subtle political means that have tended to replace colonial annexation at the international level, particularly focusing on the impact of such intergovernmental institutions as the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development."
Obama Follows Bush's Iraq Playbook, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Sep 2014
Examines the validity of Obama's arguments for going to war against ISIS/ISIL based on the beheadings of two American journalists
"Americans of course are free to travel anywhere. If the U.S. government is to have the power to protect or avenge them abroad, it will have to be able to exercise military power globally. Such imperial power, which the government has long exercised, should disturb peace- and freedom-loving Americans precisely because it creates the potential for perpetual war, invites retaliatory terrorism, and requires high government spending and borrowing. ... war correspondents, should be on notice that they travel at their own risk. This may sound callous, but the alternative is a global empire that we cannot afford either in blood or treasure."
Obama's Iraqi Fairy Tale, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Mar 2014
Examines, in devastating detail, Obama's March 2014 remarks about the 2003 Iraqi invasion
"America's savvy rulers long ago realized that old-style empire building was passé. Subjugated populations wouldn't stand for it, and that raised the already considerable costs of empire maintenance. So a new, softer imperialism was born. No more annexations. No more UN mandates or protectorates. No more de jure colonies. But this says nothing about de facto control, which was the Bush regime's objective in Iraq from Day One."
On the English Foreign Policy, by John Bright, 29 Oct 1858
Speech given to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; criticises British militarism and imperialism, pointing out the effects of several 19th century wars on national debt, poverty and families
"Yet, tho we have these troubles in India—a vast country which we do not know how to govern, and a war with China ... such is the inveterate habit of conquest, such is the insatiable lust of territory, such is, in my view, the depraved, unhappy state of opinion of the country on this subject, that there are not a few persons, chambers of commerce, to-wit, in different parts of the kingdom ... who have been urging our government to take possession of a province of the greatest island in the Eastern seas ..."
Our Patience on Iraq Should Be Exhausted, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Apr 2007
Comments on George W. Bush's request that the Iraqi troop "surge" be given a chance and on congressional efforts to impose a 2008 withdrawal deadline
"But even if the war were 'going well' it would be morally and politically objectionable. It must be viewed as one piece of an imperial program that has placed U.S. military bases in 130 countries, according to Chalmers Johnson ... When are ordinary Americans going to realize they are financiers and fodder for a worldwide empire? ... We're told the network of far-flung interests is for our own security, but as Johnson and others have shown, global military and political intervention makes enemies for the country, invites terrorism ('blowback'), and hence endangers Americans at home and abroad."
Related Topic: Iraq War (2003)
Out of Iraq, Etc.!, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Aug 2014
Examines the origins of the arbitrary country subdivisions in the Fertile Crescent after World War I and the continuing problems in the region
"European countries drew lines in the sand without much regard for the societies they were constructing from disparate sectarian, tribal, and ethnic populations. ... It's no exaggeration to say that virtually every current problem in the region stems at least in part from the imperial double cross and carve-up that took place after the war. And the immediate results of the European betrayal were then exacerbated by further acts of intervention and neocolonialism ..."
Pathetic Arguments for Foreign Intervention, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jan 2008
Discusses comments made by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal about Ron Paul's call for U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East
"For decades U.S. presidents have sought to manage the world in behalf of what they call 'American interests,' and all it has brought is death, mayhem, anti-Americanism, and a price tag that would blow the average citizen's mind ... Proponents of America-as-world-policeman think they can get away with sneers and slogans — and they may be right. The media stars who seem so incredulous and amused when interviewing a noninterventionist such as Representative Paul are like putty in the hands of American imperialists such as John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards."
Related Topics: Government, Libertarianism
Patrick Henry: Enemy of the State, by Ryan McMaken, 2 Dec 2003
After brief mention of Henry's more historical speech, discusses his role and oratory in the Constitutional ratification debates
"In his final stand against the new order, Patrick Henry presented his audience with a choice — a choice between empire and liberty: '... But now, Sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country to a powerful and mighty empire.' And quite an empire it has become. Today, as Americans, half our incomes are taxed away to that consolidated government; we send our sons to die toppling dictators armed and financed by those same taxes; we bleat like sheep for protection from each other and every foreign bogeyman near and far, and we call it liberty! "
Road to Empire: An illegal treaty with Iraq seals our fate, by Justin Raimondo, 28 Nov 2007
Discusses the "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America"
"The British routinely point to their imperial past as a source of pride, as do American Anglophiles. The French, the Spanish, and the Italians all revel in the supposed glory of their past conquests: it's only the Americans who disdain the very idea of having an empire, and, indeed, instinctively sense something profoundly un-American about the whole concept of Washington, D.C., as the capital of a global imperium. That's what ordinary Americans think, at any rate ..."
Related Topic: Iraq
Terrorism Comes with Empire, by Jacob Hornberger, 8 Jul 2005
Reflects on the 7 July 2005 London bombings (and 1993 and 2001 attacks in New York and the Pentagon) and why England and the U.S. were the targets rather than Switzerland
"For those who want lives of freedom, normality, peace, prosperity, and harmony, there is but one solution: Dismantle the empire; bring the troops home and discharge them into the private sector; stop meddling in the affairs of other nations; stop trying to dominate and control the world; stop going abroad in search of monsters to destroy; stop trying to be the world's policeman."
The Antimilitarist Libertarian Heritage, by Sheldon Richman, 19 Sep 2014
Reviews writings by Herbert Spencer, "Government Colonization" and "Patriotism", on the subjects of war, militarism, colonization and patriotism
"His first book ... contains a chapter, 'Government Colonization,' that examines the effects of imperialism on both the home and subjugated populations. While formal colonization has gone out of style, many of its key characteristics have been preserved in a new form ... He starts by pointing out that the 'parent' country's government must violate the rights of its own citizens when it engages in colonial conquest and rule. ... Spencer proceeds to demolish the argument that foreign acquisitions increase the wealth of the parent society, as though such acquisitions are analogous to voluntary trade relations."
The Empire Is Over, by Charley Reese, 29 Sep 2007
Compares the current U.S. government to the characters in The Wizard of Oz and discusses the signs of an empire ending
"A friend of mine, a classical scholar, sometimes tells his students, 'No one woke up one morning in 476 A.D. and said, "Gee, I'm in the Dark Ages."' The transition from the heyday of Roman power to a stage of barbarism was a gradual process. We are in a process of change. No one is going to announce on TV that the U.S. is no longer a superpower."
The Meaning of Haditha: Murderous depravity and empire-building go hand-in-hand, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Jun 2006
"The ugly truth is that we have been corrupted by dreams of empire: our foreign and military policy of 'preemption' is the doctrine of a swaggering bully. To claim preeminence on every continent, to strut and preen on the world stage and demand applause at gunpoint, this is evidence of a collective mania, a severe psychological affliction ..."
The Open Society and Its Worst Enemies, by Sheldon Richman, 16 Jan 2015
Considers the January 2015 events in Paris and contrasts the choice between an open, free society and imperialistic, militaristic foreign intervention
"It really does come down to a stark choice between full freedom and empire. ... To the extent that the state consumes resources (passing them along to the military-intelligence-industrial complex), we have fewer opportunities to create prosperity through peaceful exchange. The interventionist state impinges on all realms of life. Chalmers Johnson was right: 'A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can't be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship.'"
Related Topics: Society, Terrorism, War
The Price of Empire, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Apr 2006
Discusses U.S drug warriors' unfruitful efforts to eradicate coca production in some Andean countries and the consequent migration of cultivation elsewhere
"Empire — sorry, benevolent hegemony — has its price. Terrorism is one. Every empire in history probably had terrorism directed at it, because it's one of the few weapons available to relatively weak nonstate adversaries. Another, less dramatic price is the determination of other countries' rulers to go their separate ways. This can range from major moves to establish spheres of influence to sticking a thumb in the empire's eye."
Related Topics: War on Drugs, Peru
There Are Two Ways To Gain Cooperation, by Gary North, 9 Mar 2006
"The central factor of the demise of empire is cost. It costs too much to organize an empire in comparison to the cost of undermining it. ... The costs of maintaining legitimacy for an empire involve both force and propaganda. Both factors are under siege by modern technology, which is not only radically price competitive but is also feature competitive."
The Smell of Empire, by Steven LaTulippe, 4 Mar 2004
The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire, Part 2, by Joseph R. Stromberg, Future of Freedom, Jan 1999
Related Topics: Cuba, Philippines, Spain
The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire, Part 1, by Joseph R. Stromberg, Future of Freedom, Dec 1998
Related Topics: Cuba, Philippines, Spain
The State of the Movement [PDF], by Leonard Liggio, The Libertarian Forum, 15 May 1970
Examines the history and status of the New Left movement, in particular of the Students for a Democratic Society and the involvement of libertarians and socialists in SDS
"The Movement is defined by the central issue of American politics—foreign affairs. American imperialism, abroad and imposed on the Black naiion on this continent, establishes the American political spectrum. The Movement is the opposition to that imperialism. While the issues were not presented as clearly in the first half of the 1960's, in 1965 it became unquestioned. ... The Movement's progenitors were the remnants whose commitment to antiU.S. imperialism survived the New Deal's intervention in 1941: the Old Right, pacifists, and independent socialists ... Draft resistance is the major focus of anti-imperialist activity."
Related Topics: Libertarianism, Vietnam War
The Urge to 'Surge': It has to be resisted, by Justin Raimondo, 15 Dec 2006
"We are learning just how costly imperial ambitions can be: empires, after all, don't come cheap. And then there are the nonmaterial costs: the corruption of politics and of the spirit. ... the political dynamics here in America give life to the empire-building impulse, in spite of the growing national distaste for foreign wars."
Two Libertarian Classics, by Murray Rothbard, Reason, Mar 1974
Reviews of Albert Jay Nock's Our Enemy the State and John T. Flynn's As We Go Marching
"It is unfortunate that now when we hear charges of 'imperialism,' we automatically condemn the speaker as Marxist—not realizing that the original anti-imperialists of the nineteenth century, the Cobdens and Brights and Sumners, were libertarian laissez-faire thinkers who saw deeply and correctly that war and militarism would be the death not simply of free markets and a free society but of the classical liberal movement itself. Flynn's AS WE GO MARCHING applies these antimilitarist and antiimperialist insights to the New Deal ..."
We Were Warned about the Rise of Empire, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Jun 2014
Revisits Garet Garrett's 1952 essay "The Rise of Empire" discussing Garrett's five traits "that belong only to empire" and their applicability to the United States in 2014
"Finally, Garrett made a point that is entirely relevant today: 'a time comes when Empire finds itself — a prisoner of history.' ... We're told, however, that American empire is unique because it is dedicated to freedom and peace. This claim cannot withstand scrutiny: look at the regimes American administrations have supported and support today. But Garrett said that even if this claim were granted, the case for empire would be self-defeating because its price is bankruptcy. So even if 'this is Imperialism of the Good Intent,' he wrote, it would also have to be the 'Empire of the Bottomless Purse.'"
Why They Hate Us, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Feb 2008
Examines the myth that the United States is hated because Americans "are free and represent democracy"
"The last century-plus of U.S. foreign policy has largely been a story of aggression and empire-building. American presidents have intervened and interfered in every region of the world, not in self-defense, but in the name of U.S. 'national interest,' which in reality means the interest of well-connected corporations and their ambitious political agents who felt appointed by history to bring order to the world."
Related Topics: Terrorism, United States

Cartoons and Comic Strips

The First "World Policeman", by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 8 Oct 2013

Books

Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism
    by P. J. O'Rourke, 2004

Videos


Eddie Izzard - Do you have a flag?, 14 Oct 2007

Empire or Humanity?: What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire, by Howard Zinn, 28 Mar 2008
Narrated by Viggo Mortensen, art by Mike Konopacki

Pirates and Emperors - Schoolhouse Rock, 17 Sep 2006
Related Topics: Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Imperialism" as of 23 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.