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Imperialism

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Imperial America

EDGE Fall Quarter 2003

Tim Chueh Ambert Ho 12/5/03
What Is Imperialism?

“Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism…characterized by monopoly corporations and the compulsion to export capital abroad for higher profits. Unlike capitalism in the earlier stages, in the imperialist stage, capitalism has no more progress to bring the world…the cause of contemporary militarism” – Lenin

“The policy, practice, or advocacy of seeking, or acquiescing in, the extension of the control, dominion, or empire of a nation, as by the acquirement of new, esp. distant, territory or dependencies, or by the closer union of parts more or less independent of each other for operations of war, copyright, internal commerce, etc.” – Oxford dictionary

The word imperialism derives from “empire.” As such, it is useful to spend a bit of time to define the word. In working towards a minimal definition, Stanford Professor of Archaeology J. Manning in his first lecture on Ancient Empires starts with: “An empire is a territorially extensive hierarchically political organization.” Unfortunately this definition is too vague. All states encountered in human history are by definition hierarchical, and many nations today are vast compared to the empires of the ancient world. Thus, Manning rephrases his definition of empire to be: “A territorially extensive hierarchical political organization involving the rule of one or more groups over other groups of foreigners.” But what causes empire? There are two models worth explaining. One is originated by the Greek historian Thucydides, famous for the quote “The strong do what they can and the...

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