By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
Commentators name the USA an empire: sometimes a benign empire, occasionally an empire in denial, frequently a harmful empire. In American Umpire, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman explores key turning issues in heritage from George Washington to Barack Obama. She demanding situations the concept that the us is an empire, and asserts as an alternative that the United States has played the function of umpire given that 1776, compelling adherence to ideas that delicately earned wide approval, although it additionally violated those principles once in a while. through the years, prosperity unfold, wars declined in ferocity, and human existence expectancy doubled all over the world. yet safety got here at a price that used to be now not shared both through all. the us is the world's strongest country--and certainly one of its richest--but extra uncovered to feedback and dangers than ever. Umpiring is a weighty accountability. With all eyes upon them, umpires can't win.
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The empire of men and the empire of God appeared to mesh seamlessly. The identity of Christ and the temporal emperor blurred: both were the King of Kings, one in heaven, the other on earth. Once the Roman state ceased to operate, the Latin pope assumed the mantle of kingmaker. In 800 CE, he recognized the Frankish ruler Charlemagne as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne began the reign that eventually passed to Otto the Great and encompassed much of central Europe. Until the Reformation, Latin Christianity was Europe’s oﬃcial religion, with the pope claiming ultimate authority (often ineﬀectively) on any number or matters, from the marriage of royals to the division of the continents discovered by Columbus.
As historian Daniel Rodgers observes: “Every serious reader of the past instinctively knows . . that nations lie enmeshed in each others’ history. ” The new world system in which the United States arose, and where it was initially an anomaly, began with the Reformation. This religious cataclysm fundamentally redeﬁned the relationship among the existing Euro- to compel acquiescence pean nations, making them absolutely autonomous from one another. It led them to reject any kind of outside supervision.
The new country needed some kind of higher authority to settle the states’ competing claims. It needed an umpire. The defeated British gloated over the Confederation’s incompetence. S. minister John Adams with ill-disguised contempt. “An ambassador from America! ” sneered one London newspaper. The London government refused to appoint an opposite number to America, eschewing normal diplomatic reciprocity. As one wag queried, should Whitehall send one minister to the Continental Congress, or thirteen?