U.S. History/Imperialism


Can you explain imperialism to me?  I am terrible at comprehending history...so my questions are, what is imperialism, I get that it is about gaining power through military and politics, am i right?  I am working on an assignment which is asking why nations, including the United States seek empire? What were the costs and benefits?  Were the costs worth it? What about today?

Imperialism is essentially when one country or groups has disproportionate power and uses it to dominate surrounding nations, a whole region of the world, or even in some cases most of the world.  Typically such domination takes place through military might.  It can also be done with economic power as well.

Typically, powerful nations use their power to influence to makes other nations conform to its will.  This can keep in place favorable trade practices, ensure other countries don't rise up to become potential rivals, or even extract taxes or tribute from its neighbors.

The costs of imperialism is that such domination can be very expensive.  In can often drain the resources of those running the imperial power.  When the costs begin to outweigh the benefits, that is usually when the empire begins to break down and fall apart.

The US uses imperial power to exert its will around the world.  But it does come at a cost.  The US government does not have as much money for social welfare and other domestic benefits because its spends so much on its military budget and international assistance.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

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Truman Scholar

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