Are the US currently an empire?

Dec 2009
The OP is self-explanatory.

The issue had been explored in both active and past threads, but IMHO always being strictly speaking unrelated with their respective OPs.

IMHO this issue deserves its own ad hoc thread; here it is.

As some Historumites may already be aware, I have my own personal stand on this issue; as usual our main goal is just to compare notes and exchange information.

Please eaborate any answer as detailed as possible.

As usual, any imput would be highly welcomed.

Please enjoy & thanks in advance :) :) :cool:
Dec 2011
United States
What 'empire'?

I can't think of many places we own outside of the South Pacific to justify the term empire.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
When I think about an Empire, I think about an aggressively expanding and colonizing power.
So, in my opinion, the US are not an Empire.
The US are a superpower though
  • Like
Reactions: royal744
Nov 2011
Texas, USA
That depends on your definition of empire. :D

Does the United States have colonies around the globe that are subservient to the home country? Apart from some small possessions here or there, no. So if your definition of empire is based on the British or French definition of the 1800's, then the answer is a qualified "no."

If you accept that such an arrangement is largely impossible in today's world and that modern "empires" operate through client states and allies that depend on another country for economic, military and geo-political support, then the answer would be a "yes." But it would also be a "yes" for countries like China, France, Britain, Russia and you could probably throw Australia in there are well.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
Well, the day of the colonial empire are gone but, what does a modern empire look like? Arguably, the US today holds as much influence in the world as any ancient empire. As large a slice of the economic pie and percentage of the military might as who in history? I believe the US Navy is capable today of projecting military power in a dominant degree anywhere on the planet. Very few countries could stand up to us on their own turf and none can consider the possibility of coming to North America in a military way. Hmmmmmm, people don't like the word, empire. Conjures up a greedy image of monarchs making third world power grabs. I don't think that is what the US is about. On the other hand, what does a modern empire look like?


Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
America's cultural hegemony is also relevant to this question; Hollywood, McDonalds, Starbucks...
Dec 2011
Las Vegas Nevada
If you look at the modern international system America has to be classified as an empire because of how they impose their way on other nations.