Imperialism In Ronald Wright's What Is America

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Ronald Wright’s What is America? Portrays America and its history in a way that most Americans certainly do not see themselves. Wright’s book challenges the good ol’ Uncle Sam belief that conventional Americans hold about its benevolent country. Many Americans have yet to admit the fact that they live in an imperial America that has always been obsessed with the desire to expand and to prosper. That such American imperialism had been pursued in the ideologies of religious extremism, political militarism and economic conquests behind the backdrop of high moral calling. What is alarming is the fact that the conquest strategy has continued and has remained in disguise to this day by the unapologetic and messianic America. The religious color…show more content…
The idea was to build a perfect society, an ideal political arrangement, a model democracy in which the people would exercise themselves with reason in their own best interest. To build a perfect, secular society. In contrast to the belief that God is talking to them and guiding them, this other belief says that “perfectibility” can be achieved through the exercise of man’s intelligence. Such reality and reason had seemed to justify the political motivation and militaristic actions to explore outside of its border and to liberate. Wright illustrated that perhaps in view of this mindset, dishonorable origins and actions in the past had to be disowned, suppressed and forgotten, seemingly, in order to justify what the new Americans did to the Native Americans. The usual white American idea that their country is based on wilderness is a farce. “The truth of the matter is that the country was built on slaughter of one race and the enslavement of another” (Wright 109). When America explored outside its border it was always done, as we said, with the justification of a “high moral purpose.” They were liberating in order to paper over the unsavory fact of an imperial conquest. Ethnic cleansing, for example, was a deliberate program. It removed Eastern Indians as ordered by President Jackson, long after the Indians were confined to reservation. The Indians, wrote Senator Dawes that his Allotment Act, lacked “selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization” (Wright 116). Soon the communist menace would emerge as the force of evil, and the founding myths would parallel and manifest today as what Wright calls “Enlightened

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