America as Empire
a Voices from the Edge presentation in Boston
America was founded on the principles of equality, liberty, and justice—revered as a place of unlimited potential for those possessing little more than the will to succeed. In Garrison's view, America has grown far beyond these characteristics, beyond what the Founding Fathers—and most Americans—ever imagined. America has now become, Garrison says, “an unrivaled empire among the nations. . . . It used to represent freedom. Now it represents power.”
This talk by Mr. Garrison for WIE's Voices from the Edge speakers series, presents the author and historian at his most provocative and refined. His discourse is flawlessly composed and delivered, and is followed here by an engaging question-and-answer session.
Central to Garrison's critique is the question of whether Americans are willing to acknowledge and accept the responsibility that its unrivaled power confers. Will it wield its overarching might merely to insure its own continuing sovereignty? Or will America reach for a higher goal and become what Garrison calls a “transitional” power, essentially a final empire, using its authority to help create a radically new, democratically governed global system?
“This is the challenge before America: to manifest a destiny of both light and power at the level of global affairs. It is ultimately a challenge about how high it will cast its sights, about what kind of vision it will manifest as it leads in an integrating world fraught with crises.”