Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz
(Princeton University Press, 2010)
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Did America set out to become an empire? And if so, how has it reconciled its imperialism with the idea of liberty so forcefully expressed in the Declaration of Independence? In his new book, Empire for Liberty, historian Richard Immerman tells the stories of six men who influenced the course of American empire: Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, William Henry Seward, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Foster Dulles, and Paul Wolfowitz. Immerman shows how each individual’s influence arose from a keen sensitivity to the concerns of his times, how the trajectory of American empire was relentless, if not straight, and how these shrewd and powerful individuals shaped their rhetoric about liberty to suit their needs. But as Immerman demonstrates, the Global War on Terror and the occupation of Iraq brought the tensions between liberty and empire into bold relief. Please join us as we discuss this timely and provocative book.