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According to Maier, being an empire means a specific kind of state organization where elites of varying national or ethnic units adjourn to and consent in the political leadership of the overriding power. According to him, empires are about peace creation, civilization and religious consistency, as seen among the imperialists. It also entails the stretching of technologies and cultures, normally originating from metropolis externally or in some cases, the other way round. Maier argues that being an empire is not just simple but as state has to conquer and seizure other states. on the other hand, having an empire has an implication of being already established as an empire. Consequently, having an empire is a state of being established in various structures within a given state, for instance, having strong military system, efficient production, technological advancement, among other important aspects (Bovingdon, 2010). In respect to this, there is a clear cutting division between being an empire and having an empire in the sense that, the latter utilizes force to reprove defection while the former comes about after efforts to create an empire.
Basing on the way in which Maier defines an empire, we could assert that British were an empire during 19th century. It is a kind of political organization whereby the core ruling elites create a system of other elites on the margin. The elites at the margin admit subordinate so that they can be sure of positions. This is exactly what happened with the British Empire in the 19th century. He looks at some of the characteristics of an empire as amassing lands through conquest and imposing authoritarian regimes on colonies (Bovingdon,, 2010). British had good military system that saw it conquer many nations and win many battles, for instance triumph over Napoleon. It is through this period that many inventions were witnessed such as the telegraph and the steamship that saw it manage and protect the empire. This is enough clear demonstration that British suits Maier's characterizes and definition of what an empire is. The expansion of British East India Company also adds the weight on how it was an even strong territory.
According to (Bovingdon, 2010), the main intention of Maier is not offer an answer as to if the United States of America is an empire or not but he clearly illustrates what empires do and what they are unravel whether the country conforms to the underlying traits. However he identifies two empires that existed in America: the empire of production together with the empire of consumption. The empire of production came into existence during the start of the World War II and its foundation based on fordism, cheap energy, military supremacy, economic policies stressing on growth. This empire reached its peak in 1958 and started to fall shortly after. The empire of consumption then emerged; it relies on pop culture, advanced computing technology, subsidized exports of agriculture, luxury items like cars, vacations, electronics, etc.
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Even though Maier does not disclose directly whether America has an empire, his text shows that the country has empire to a great extent; the empire of consumption (Bovingdon, 2010). Currently in America, there are so many events involving celebrities and other citizens consuming luxury items, pop culture has spread immensely through the country among other aspects that have existed from 1970s. However, Maier feels that the country is yet to have a fully functional empire due to the issues of the cold war period still haunting it. The issues include: war against Iran, nuclear weapons and strategy, increases in oil prices, authoritarian alliances, among others. American dominance is though still being felt all over the world through such initiatives as foreign aid policy, strong economy, good systems of education etc.
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