Are We Really Going The Way Of The British Empire?

Those who believe America’s power is on the wane look to the example of Britain’s shockingly quick collapse. But the similarities may be less alarming than they seem.

In 1987 Paul Kennedy published his eighth book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. The first seven had established his reputation as an admirably capable professional historian, and he was pleasantly surprised when this one became celebrated far outside academic precincts. He also must have been astonished when he found himself the object of political invective. Read more »

Connecting With Eastern Europe

Americans have always sympathized with the Eastern European countries in their struggles for democracy, but for two centuries we haven’t been able to help much. Do we have a chance now? A distinguished expatriate looks at the odds.

Even in these days of nine-hour airplane journeys and instant telephony, the United States and Eastern Europe are very far apart. When it comes to the places and shapes of nations and states east of Germany and west of Russia, there occurs in the eyes of most Americans an instant blur. There are obvious reasons for this. One of them is the plain reality of perspective.Read more »

Is America Falling Behind?

It’s never a bad thing question how well you’re doing; the problem is to find a judicious observer who is determined neither to flatter nor to condemn

Irresistibly readable though it is, I doubt that Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (Random House) has leaped onto the best-seller list simply because people want to follow the roller-coaster histories of the Hapsburgs or the British Empire or other by-gone centers of world power. The book packs its wallop because Kennedy asks aloud a question that has been silently nagging at America’s consciousness: Is America falling behind? Read more »

Getting To Know Us

After a year at the University of Missouri boning up on American history, a Chinese professor tells what she discovered about us and how she imparts her new knowledge to the folks back home in the People’s Republic.

In my mind, my life has been very uneventful. But to other people, it seems that I should have nothing more to wish for: my husband and I both work at Lanzhou University in northcentral China, where my husband is a professor of Russian history and I teach the history of the world’s Middle Ages as well as ancient Chinese history. At the university, we are considered to have a good future. Besides this, I have two adorable children. It seemed that I should be content because life had blessed me with so much.Read more »

101 Things Every College Graduate Should Know About American History

This is not a test. It’s the real thing.

How precise is the educated American’s understanding of the history of our country? I don’t mean exact knowledge of minor dates, or small details about the terms of laws, or questions like “Who was secretary of war in 1851?” ( Answer: Charles M. Conrad.) But just how well does the average person remember the important facts—the laws, treaties, people, and events that should be familiar to everyone? Read more »

The Ten Best Secretaries Of State…

When the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, took office in 1790, his entire staff consisted of just six people, including himself and a part-time translator. The current Secretary presides over almost fifteen thousand employees scattered around the globe. During the intervening years, of course, the challenges facing Jefferson’s successors have changed dramatically as the infant republic has grown into a world power. Read more »

What We Got For What We Gave

The American Experience With Foreign Aid

Imagine a person of great wealth with a habit of giving away vast sums and lending more. In order to understand his character, we should examine how the money is dispensed and why. Who are the recipients? What does the donor expect of them in return? How does he react if his expectations are not fulfilled? By asking the same questions of a wealthy and seemingly generous government, we can acquire a similar insight into its character. Read more »

Under Fire In Cuba

A Volunteer’s Eyewitness Account of the War With Spain

From the Revolution at least through World War II, American boys hurrying off to war calmed their fear s by believing that their country’s cause wan just and right and would surely prevail.

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The Enemies Of Empire

To the question of acquiring new territories overseas, and owning colonies, one group of Americans answered with a resounding “No!”

We know, to the hour and minute, when this country reached the point of no return on its way to becoming a world power.

 
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