Book Review:- ‘A Great and Rising Nation: Naval exploration and global empire in the early US Republic’ by M. A. Verney,

By W. Mark Hamilton, published February 2024


A Great and Rising Nation is part of the University of Chicago Press Series American Beginnings, 1500–1900. Each of its six chapters relates to US naval expeditions during the first half of the nineteenth century. Contrary to strong and established historical tradition, Michael A. Verney contends that the new United States emerged as a global power and a figure on the world stage during the early nineteenth century and not, as most historians have concluded, at the close of the century with the Spanish-American war.

A motivating force for the US naval expeditions in the early nineteenth century was to match the great European powers and to gain their recognition. It was only with sea power that this could be achieved, for which Great Britain was the model, having emerged after 1815 following the Napoleonic Wars as the primary naval hegemon. In the author’s own words, ‘this book is about that process of imperialism.’ He reminds readers on numerous occasions that this imperialism was a product of white and middle- and upper-class ambition, thus branding the early United States as an imperial society…

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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