HIST 389: The Greater American Empire


Instructor: Michael Hill

Day & Time:
Tuesday & Thursday
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Fulfills both KU Core Goal 3H & History Category: I

Political Cartoon Depicting Uncle Sam with arm fulls of books, steel rails, railroad cars, canes, textiles and books using the Philippines as a stepping-stone on a map to get to China.

The Greater American Empire

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton all called the early United States an empire. Were they right? Is the United States an empire? Has it always been an empire? How have historians attempted to understand the political, economic, military, legal, social, and cultural causes and consequences of U.S. empire?

To answer these questions, we will explore nearly the entire breadth of U.S. history, from the American colonial period to the early twenty-first century. We will engage with the works of some of the earliest critics of U.S. empire, as well as some of its most recent defenders. Along the way, students will be challenged to reimagine history of the United States and asked if that history has implications for the American future, at home and abroad.