How do you govern people in a foreign land who speak unfamiliar languages, worship unfamiliar religions, and have unfamiliar political institutions? How do you achieve this task when the people you want to govern challenge the very government imposed upon them? Perhaps most perplexing, how do you respond to that resistance when you are committed to creating new freedoms for the very people who have fostered the resistance?
Over more than two centuries of territorial expansion and superpower foreign policy, Americans have repeatedly asked themselves these same or similar questions. They have struggled to reconcile deeply held beliefs regarding the perceived evils of empire with the political reality of governing people and places throughout the world.
In America's Struggle with Empire, historian Peter Kastor has carefully compiled and edited a unique document collection that explores how Americans have addressed these complex issues over time. Drawing from a wide range of primary sources, this fascinating new reference brings unparalleled focus to the history of U.S. attempts to govern foreign territories and noncitizens. With the help of introductory essays and explanatory headnotes, the volume examines how these encounters have been viewed by Americans, and how they have shaped the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world. The volume explores how a democratic republic that proclaims a commitment to personal and national independence has gone about governing foreign territory and foreign people.
America's Struggle with Empire presents source material from executive orders, military plans, speeches, legislation, treaties, public debate, and popular culture that shed light on:
- early expansion
- territorial acquisition
- immigration policies
- the notion of imperialism
- development of foreign policy
- governing territories
- violent local resistance
- constitutional questions
As the debate over U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, this documentary history meets the need for unbiased background on America’s expansion and its engagement in the domestic affairs of foreign countries.