My obsessions stay the same – historical memory and historical erasure. I am particularly interested in the Americas and how a history that is rooted in colonialism, the language and iconography of empire, disenfranchisement, the enslavement of peoples, and the way that people were sectioned off because of blood.
When the Romans in the last age of the republic came into immediate contact with Iran as a consequence of the occupation of Syria, they found in existence the Persian empire regenerated by the Parthians.
In seeking an empire of liberty, Jefferson wished not only to expand the country’s territorial holdings, but also to extend American institutions around the globe.
All comparisons between America’s current place in the world and anything legitimately called an empire in the past reveal ignorance and confusion about any reasonable meaning of the concept empire, especially the comparison with the Roman Empire.
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace.
When Edward Gibbon was writing about the fall of the Roman Empire in the late 18th century, he could argue that transportation hadn’t changed since ancient times. An imperial messenger on the Roman roads could get from Rome to London even faster in A.D. 100 than in 1750. But by 1850, and even more obviously today, all of that has changed.
No, men and women of the Irish race, we shall not fight for England. We shall fight for the destruction of the British Empire and the construction of an Irish republic.
Religiously the Empire was pluralistic and marked by a search for a faith which would be satisfying intellectually and ethically and would give assurance of immortality.
The splendid empire of Charles the Fifth was erected upon the grave of liberty.
The most fundamental purpose of government is defense, not empire.