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Reply #6: You've got a hold of something, but it's still in an awkward stage [View All]

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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 11:34 PM
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6. You've got a hold of something, but it's still in an awkward stage
Some of the syntax is pretty strained. The metaphors seemed forced in places. And the tone varies between would-be epic, straight historical, and mildly colloquial. But I assume you'll clean up all that as you rewrite. (As well as the careless errors, like "Chris LaHaye" instead of "Tim.")

More seriously, though, I found it hard to follow your chronology, and I think you need to rethink the basic way you're structuring the periods. For one thing, I'm not sure why you use 1917 as a major transition. To me, it seems that there was a continuing phase of US imperialism which started with the Spanish American War in 1898 and the Open Door Policy in 1899 and extended through the 1930's.

The focus of this phase shifted from America's own Western frontier to Latin America and the Pacific. The hallmarks were gunboat diplomacy and banana republics, and that stayed consistent throughout. (Think, for example, of the career of Smedley Butler. Or Allen Dulles's work for United Fruit in the 1920's.) It wasn't that the US advanced to a new phase in 1917 and then retreated again so much as that it resisted Wilson's attempts to prod it into a larger role and kept on the same course (even under Roosevelt) for another couple of decades.

The second phase I see as starting in 1941 with Henry Luce's call for an "American Century" and as characterized by America's active involvement in Europe and the Middle East and assumption of the former colonial role of Great Britain and France. And the fall of that second empire I see as happening not slowly but fairly abruptly in 1973/74 -- marked by the oil crisis, the collapse of the post-World War II economic system, the US withdrawl from Vietnam, and Watergate. The 1975-79 period was then a sort of interregnum, when the underpinnings of the third empire were being put in place.

What you're doing is very worthwhile, and I hope I don't come across as overly critical. But you've bitten off a big chunk, and the essay still needs work and thought to make it what you want it to be.
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