When did Empire become the "E" Word?

Sep 2012
6
-
#32
Recently, I start using the "E" word again after some considerations. I find it hard to believe that a "country" with 34 "nations" in it, a couple of borderline client states, and dozens of overseas ports is not an empire.
 
Mar 2016
948
Australia
#33
Recently, I start using the "E" word again after some considerations. I find it hard to believe that a "country" with 34 "nations" in it, a couple of borderline client states, and dozens of overseas ports is not an empire.
I assume you're referring to the USA? I'd say it's definitely an empire, but more in the way that something like Athens was an empire; a focus on client states, vassals and influence rather than outright conquest and annexation of lands, as well as a large navy and military bases spread all around to project power. More subtle, but just as effective.
 
Dec 2011
2,121
#35
Can I use this opportunity to ask, what exactly english speakers mean with the words Empire and Emperor? I don't get it.

Empire:
When I started learning english I thought that Empire in english could be simply translated to the german word Reich. Then I found out that the word Reich has no translation in english, the best comparable word would be realm. Then I saw that the official title of Germany in english until 1918 is German Empire and later is German Reich (but weirdly not during 1919-1933, even though the name Deutsches Reich dind't change between 1871 and 1938; so what how is the official title during this time for Germany?). So I thought it had something to to with a monarchy in power. Then I red people arguing that the USA is an Empire. The USA never was a monarchy, so the word Empire didn't need a monarch and additionally it seemed to have an aggressive conquest connotation, what the word Reich doesn't have. So maybe the best translation would be Weltreich - an entity that spans a big part of the (known) world and tries to dominate the world or at least be the most powerful power in the world? So how do you exactly understand the word "Empire"?

Emperor:
In german it is essentially like that: the Kaiser (Emperor (?)) is the König (King) of the Könige (King of the Kings), like the König is the Herzog (duke) of the Herzöge (Duke of the Dukes), the Herzog is the Landgraf (Landgrave) of the Landgrafen (Landgrave of the Landgraves), the Landgraf is the Fürst (Princeps) of the Fürsten (Princeps of the Princeps), the Fürst is the Graf (Count) of the Grafen (Count of the Counts), the Graf is the Freiherr (Baron) of the Freiherren (Baron of the Barons) and the Freiherr is the Edler (Noble(?)) of the Edle (Nobel of the Nobles).
So it blew my mind, when I red somewhere on this forum, that someone hadn't thought of the Emperor as the King of the Kings. In Kaiser that is the essence of the title, a Kaiser has kings under him or is the king himself of those kingdoms, so the Empire consists of at least two kingdoms like the kingdom consists of at least two duchies. It was for me like saying "I never thought as of a book as something transmitting information (which I think is its essence). So what does Emperor exactly mean in in english?
"When did empire become the E word?" What a silly question. There is lots of words beginning in E.

Empire simply means a political situation in which one country takes over and rules over one or other countries. It comes from Latin "imperator" meaning "commander", which came to refer to the supreme commander, the emperor. The German word "kaisar" (also the Russian word Czar) comes directly from the name Caesar, which every Roman emperor adopted.

The sole reason why empire is regarded as bad is because it means that the countries which are subject to the rule of the imperial power do not have freedom, meaning they will not be able to identify and solve their own problems and won't be able to make their country prosper. Probably they will have to pay taxes to the imperial power too. Put it this way, would you wish your nation to be ruled by another?
 
Sep 2015
1,676
England
#36
I assume you're referring to the USA? I'd say it's definitely an empire, but more in the way that something like Athens was an empire; a focus on client states, vassals and influence rather than outright conquest and annexation of lands, as well as a large navy and military bases spread all around to project power. More subtle, but just as effective.
Military bases were also a hub for all sorts of trade: olive oil, wine, eggs, etc often with the home city-state.
 
Mar 2011
5,047
Brazil
#37
Well, empires are fundamentally inconsistent with liberal principles: an empire consist of a political system where the rulers and the ruled are completely separate and do not even share the same language and culture. For a polity to be an empire it must satisfy two conditions: be multi ethnic and be such that some ethnic group are clearly dominant over the others.

We live in a world shaped by liberal ideology and so political constructs that violate the concept of individual freedom are fundamentally inconsistent with a liberal order. Of course, that does not mean empires doesn't exist anymore. Even the current US, one of the leading liberal countries, has some imperial holdings, such as Puerto Rico, where it's population is barred from political participation in the US federal government. In the past the black community, which corresponds to 12-13% of the US population was obviously marginalized in the US democracy which means it satisfied the conditions for Empire. But this kind of existence tends to be regarded as more and more pathological rather than natural so no modern polity calls itself an empire even when they technically are.

For example, China has some imperial holdings such as Tibet and the Uyghurs but over 90% of its population is still ethnic Chinese and people from these small ethnic groups can still join the Communist Party and become powerful politicians. So it is still not quite an empire in the classical since only a small minority is being dominated, a proper Empire will have a small ethnic group dominating a much larger population. For example, the British Empire was a textbook example: less than 10% of its population was in Britain and the rest were imperial holdings. Such kind of polities do not exist anymore.
 
Sep 2015
1,676
England
#38
Well, empires are fundamentally inconsistent with liberal principles: an empire consist of a political system where the rulers and the ruled are completely separate and do not even share the same language and culture. For a polity to be an empire it must satisfy two conditions: be multi ethnic and be such that some ethnic group are clearly dominant over the others.

For example, China has some imperial holdings such as Tibet and the Uyghurs but over 90% of its population is still ethnic Chinese and people from these small ethnic groups can still join the Communist Party and become powerful politicians. So it is still not quite an empire in the classical since only a small minority is being dominated, a proper Empire will have a small ethnic group dominating a much larger population. For example, the British Empire was a textbook example: less than 10% of its population was in Britain and the rest were imperial holdings. Such kind of polities do not exist anymore.
The Uyghurs of Xingkiang are a wholly different case to that of Tibet. The history of the region is wildly different to that of Tibet. Chinese governance and Chinese people populating the region dates back to Tang Dynasty China for starters. The various tribes and peoples that have populated the region has changed over the years, sometimes radically. The Uyghurs are a majority in population only in the south of the province.
 

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