[Marxism] Fwd: Birth of an Imperial Nation | The Nation

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 5 12:34:19 MST 2017


“A nation without borders,” Donald Trump declared on the campaign trail, 
“is not a nation at all.” Don’t react too quickly—there is at least some 
historical truth to that statement.

The nation—more precisely, the nation-state—is nothing if not a system 
of boundaries. In this country, it arose in the middle of the 19th 
century, powered by the revolutionary advance of industrial capitalism 
as it moved across Europe and the Atlantic and on to American soil. Like 
its contemporaries around the world—Bismarck’s Prussia, say, or Qing 
China—the ascending American nation-state never really had precise 
boundaries and it faced a vast array of local and foreign challenges to 
its authority. Likewise, its expansion never seemed to end. What was 
first an open-ended settler confederation on the imperial fringe became 
an enclosed nation-state, which then transformed into an unbounded empire.

The process through which the American nation-state emerged and then 
grew into an empire is the subject of A Nation Without Borders, a 
compendious new work on America’s 19th century by New York University 
historian Steven Hahn. The third entry in the Penguin History of the 
United States, A Nation Without Borders takes us from the Jacksonian 
dawn of American “democracy” to the First World War.

full: https://www.thenation.com/article/birth-of-an-imperial-nation/


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