“Empire and the People” is a chapter from Howard Zinn’s book A People's History of the United States. In this chapter, a historian is analysing the reasons of American expansion overseas highlighting U.S. political and commercial climate and business interests. The text includes the quotes of U.S. presidents, public officers and businessmen of the time when the USA decided on their exceptional role in the world.
This particular style of narration gives no way to throw discredit on the conclusions drawn after a deep insight into the problem of American influence on the political and economic life of other countries. The drastic fact is that many U.S. government leaders supported the idea of war if the States needed one.
Zinn throws the light on the first steps of the American elite to look overseas. Such intentions were mainly caused by the flooding of domestic markets. In 1893 there had been a severe economic depression that could have led to a serious crisis. Thus, U.S. business elite suggested solving the problem via the expansion of foreign markets. However, to enter the market of another country the USA had to weaken their business rivals. The tool that had been chosen for this was a military conflict, civil war or war. It is a fact that the USA often initiated the conflict but let the opposing sides fight internally. American state authority smelled like a rose and just waited for the right moment to “help”. Such tactics are depicted by Zinn through the example of Cuba and the Philippines. The war experience against Mexico proved to the U.S. authority the efficiency of their expansion policy. Thus, after Mexico, the Monroe Doctrine enabled the United States to look overseas, in particular to Japan, China, and Hawaii.
The ideology of expansion soon took hold of the majority of businessmen, military men, politicians and even farmers. Zinn compares the taste of Empire with the taste of blood in the jungle. This taste was encouraged by the millionaire press, business and political elites and other pro-government bodies. The fact is that after every conflict, American business used the time to take up leading positions while the local economy was weakened. Thus, the U.S. capital invaded foreign markets. Many politicians believed that their mission should be completed by all means, no matter whether it would be a peaceful invasion or military conflict.
“Empire and the People” is a chapter from Howard Zinn’s book A People's History of the United States. In this chapter, a historian is analysing the reasons of American expansion overseas highlighting U.S. political and commercial climate and business interests. The text includes the quotes of U.S.