Why didn't the USA try to push out towards building it's own empire?

That depends on which European model you look at. If you take the Roman Empire (indisputably both an Empire and European) as the model, then the US is pretty much identical (deliberatly so in many ways).

I wouldn’t say they’re identical... the Romans had infinitely better architecture. (Granted the US has a lot of neoclassical stuff but sadly it’s not the style anymore and architects have deluded themselves into thinking bland rectangles are hip and cool)
 
What you said could be said about the Russian Empire, but if Russia is Europe or something else is debatable.
that's a fair comparison... Russia moved into some thinly populated areas and flooded them with settlers. They also added some not-so-thinly populated areas as well. The procedures were different... Russia was an actual empire with a monarch who could just decree that conquered areas were part of Russia. The US territories had to go through the territory-to-statehood process, something made easier by the fact that so many of the US incorporated areas had small populations....
 
the USA never really had anything comparable to the UK's colonization of large populations in India and Egypt. So, to say that the USA didn't engage in 'empire building' is wrong, but it was certainly different...
I mean, there was my country, as I've said before... sure it wasn't as vast as India, but it was substantial enough to cause chaos and controversy in America itself.
 
I just had a thought, I’m surprised no one mentioned it before, but what about Liberia? Where does that fit into all this?

AFAIK it’s the only US Territory to ever be formally designated a colony, and it was established on territory the US had no previous claim to, but the motive behind it wasn’t control of land and resources like you would expect for most colonial ventures.
 
one of the things that led to the rather different method of US imperialism.... the nation went 'sea to shining sea' pretty fast. In the time between independence in 1783 to the final treaty with Mexico in 1848, the US acquired all the land that would be the 'lower 48.' And the bulk of those acquisitions after independence were lands that didn't have large existing populations. Buying Alaska didn't really change that. Hawaii's population was 109K at the time of annexation, Google tells me, likely one of the bigger populations we absorbed into statehood. It was a rather odd and unique situation... although, as argued earlier, Russia was somewhat comparable.
 
This sounds remarkably like the sort of thing that "Lost Causers*" like to say.

*Lost Causer - Individual who believes that the Southern States were entirely within their rights to keep other human beings as livestock.
Before the post-ww2 period. I don't think you'd disagree that imperialist wars are still imperial regardless of the atrocious lack of human rights in many of the places.

Abyssinia practiced slavery at the time of Italian invasion, that doesn't invalidate the Italian imperialism.

Same could be said for the American Revolution, or HEIC.

@Elfwine
It may not count as an intent to invade the North, but "the North" is not the same thing as "the United States" and vice-versa. Sumter did not belong to South Carolina.

Feels like a bit of a stretch to argue this is imperialism in the first place. Very few places like having their forts and arsenals seized by people who claim they're a separate government.
That could be said of any independence movement. That the central government's military outposts are still there.

British military bases didn't just disappear the moment Sinn Fein won in 1919.
 
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That could be said of any independence movement. That the central government's military outposts are still there.

British military bases didn't just disappear the moment Sinn Fein won in 1919.

It could. It would not give South Carolina any legal claim or moral right to Fort Sumter or other Federal property simply on its own say so, or make the war an act of imperialism.

Just as the US had no legal claim or moral right to, for example, Quebec. Or to say California is "rightfully American" in 1846.
 
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I just had a thought, I’m surprised no one mentioned it before, but what about Liberia? Where does that fit into all this?

AFAIK it’s the only US Territory to ever be formally designated a colony, and it was established on territory the US had no previous claim to, but the motive behind it wasn’t control of land and resources like you would expect for most colonial ventures.
Never part of the USA even as a territory or a colony.
 
that's a fair comparison... Russia moved into some thinly populated areas and flooded them with settlers. They also added some not-so-thinly populated areas as well. The procedures were different... Russia was an actual empire with a monarch who could just decree that conquered areas were part of Russia. The US territories had to go through the territory-to-statehood process, something made easier by the fact that so many of the US incorporated areas had small populations....
It's possible to be a democratic republic and a empire simultaneously.
Saying that the Russian Empire was a empire because it was an autocratic monarchy and the US was not because the US didn't declare that they were a empire it's just semantics.
Some of the Russia republics today have native majorities so maybe the US could have tolerated the economic development of native Americans like the " civilized" tribes instead of forcibly removing them?
15.000 people in the XIX century would amount to a larger population nowadays and several native American ethnic groups were larger than that.
France in the XIX century was a empire be it in the republican period or the imperial one.
Could the US morally condemned France if the french decided to say that France was the true heir of the Roman Republic and decided to take North Africa giving the best land to white Frenchman and forcing the native arab/berber population to march inland to the outskirts of the desert killing most of them?
Nowadays, Otl Algeria wouldn't exist, replaced by thriving French departments in North Africa and the native population would have been forsaken, and that would have been very good for France, no birth decline because coastal North Africa would offer plenty of opportunities to second sons so French women would continue to have lots of children instead of what happened Otl and today France would be a 100 M democracy and economic powerhouse.
The question is, were the US a democracy until the emancipation of the slaves?
Can you label yourself a democracy while keeping part of the population as property and not as free human beings ?
Every human being should be born a free person, that's a corner stone of democracy.
The other question is the genocide of the native Americans.
Cultural and sometimes physical genocide of small populations, it's true, but dozens of small genocides end up making a large one.
The anglos considered that native Americans weren't exploiting properly their lands so they deserved to be obliterated so the anglos could take their land and use it wisely, and that's the American original sin, some are better than others, and anglos had the divine right to fix things using deportation as a tool of progress.
I'm a European so perhaps I'm over simplifying things but most non Americans don't see America as virtuous as the Americans see it, and don't understand why the US thinks that just because they decided to consider itself unique the rest of the world should consider that a fact and not just internal propaganda.
 
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I wouldn’t say they’re identical... the Romans had infinitely better architecture. (Granted the US has a lot of neoclassical stuff but sadly it’s not the style anymore and architects have deluded themselves into thinking bland rectangles are hip and cool)
They also famously had quite good transportation infrastructure, which is more than you can say for the modern US.
 
I dont. Neither do any of the experts on the subject: "the investigation of over 300 sites showed that human groups moved in a process that involved explorations, contacts, settlements, diffusion, and acculturation/assimilation."

And it certainly cannot be described as imperialistic, even by the OPs own definition
Are there any known historical examples of Nation A adopting Nation B's language -- as a mother tongue, not just as a lingua franca or some special purpose like a scholarly or liturgical language -- without any form of imperialism taking place? Because if not -- and I've certainly never come across any such examples -- trying to argue that Ireland was somehow the exception to the universal trend is merely special pleading.
 
I dont think he was so much arguing that Ireland was special/not imperialist and more that what happened in there was so many (thousand) years ago that we simply cant say for sure wheter it was a violent conquest or celtic immigration assimilating the native peoples and that stating it was one or the other based solely on the irish language & ethnicity is conjectural at best
 
@Jimbo808

Fixed the thread title for you:

Why didn't the USA try to push out towards building it's own empire?


Why didn't the USA try to push out to collect a comprehensive imperial portfolio of unincorporated, unassimilated, and unsettled possessions and protectorates on every continent and and every ocean, to "color the map green" in American colors as Britain and France did in trying to "color the map pink (or purple)" in the 19th century?

....This alternate title would have generated the type of discussion you were looking for, instead of pages of of semantic debate on first principles of what imperialism is and isn't. (is not, is too) Precision in wording is important here.
 
@Jimbo808

Fixed the thread title for you:

Why didn't the USA try to push out towards building it's own empire?


Why didn't the USA try to push out to collect a comprehensive imperial portfolio of unincorporated, unassimilated, and unsettled possessions and protectorates on every continent and and every ocean, to "color the map green" in American colors as Britain and France did in trying to "color the map pink (or purple)" in the 19th century?

....This alternate title would have generated the type of discussion you were looking for, instead of pages of of semantic debate on first principles of what imperialism is and isn't. (is not, is too) Precision in wording is important here.
Or to simplify it

"Why didnt the US try to emulate the British Empire?"
 
That depends on which European model you look at. If you take the Roman Empire (indisputably both an Empire and European) as the model, then the US is pretty much identical (deliberatly so in many ways).
The Roman model is closer, although the states vs DC dynamic is obviously very different from the Rome-proper vs provinces, and the territories until 1898 were largely seen as destined for statehood. Russia is also a better analogy than the British empire, although the USA wasn't autocratic.
Yes and no
What you said could be said about the Russian Empire, but if Russia is Europe or something else is debatable.
The US didn't need to engage in colonial ventures because they already had a very large slave population in the country so such colonial ventures weren't needed, the US already had the commodities and the enslaved population whitin its borders.
After the ACW the slaves gained their freedom but we're not treated like first class citizens so what's the difference between an Afro-American in the second half of the XIX century, a Indian, a Javanese or a Fijian?
India, Java, and Fiji were not part of Britain proper and there was very little reason to expect they would ever be part of Britain proper.
I just had a thought, I’m surprised no one mentioned it before, but what about Liberia? Where does that fit into all this?

AFAIK it’s the only US Territory to ever be formally designated a colony, and it was established on territory the US had no previous claim to, but the motive behind it wasn’t control of land and resources like you would expect for most colonial ventures.
Liberia was officially designated a colony, but it wasn't a US territory. The American colonization society did have some support from Congress (including a grant if memory serves correctly) but I don't think Liberia was ever under the sovereign control of Washington. In that respect I guess the closest analogs would be the British India or Rupert's Land before Westminster took them over, but those were both for profit enterprises and as you pointed out, Liberia was not. In the dumping ground for people considered undesirable aspect, the closest analogies would be Pennsylvania, New England, and Australia, but those were subject to rule from London.
 
Puerto Rico saluda

Puerto Rico says hello
Yup, tho Puerto Rico is still pretty smol by comparison, I think for a US that truly have pulled a Britain you'd need a small "America"(say, just New England maybe?) that holds an absurd amount of territory for their size
Lets say, all the areas the "Golden Circle" wanted to annex by turning the Mexico into giant Puerto Rico, plus not only the Philippines but also the whole East Indies(taking Indonesia from the dutch & the japanese) and not ever letting go of Japan & Korea during their occupation(assuming it happens) for as long their Empire clings to life, with the former serving as Hawaii 2.0 and the later as their mainland asian enclave much like Hong Kong
I think that would be a better analogy to the British Empire rather than the English Rome we got IOTL America
 
Puerto Rico saluda

Puerto Rico says hello
I *think* what the OP meant (and to be blunt I don't think it formulated it very well) was basically "why didn't the US go in much for overseas expansion until the very late 19th centurty ?" That's what I get from "And would this prevent or exacerbate the lead up the the civil war?"
 
By the time the USA had completed manifest destiny from sea to shining sea they did not need an empire.
Britain by contrast was small and needed more land.
Same for most of the other major European powers.
 
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