The American Empire in the Pacific
This chapter demonstrates that while there were fortuitous events seized upon, the expansion of the US empire in the Pacific had been envisioned, deliberate, and sustained—rather than accidental—with the use of force, ruse, and a legitimating ideological suprastructure combining religion and immanent belief in exceptionalism as signified by the Tyler Doctrine of 1842 that asserted US interests in the Pacific. Exceptionalism also upheld, among others, Anglo-Saxon superiority as bearer of Enlightenment ideas, justifying this empire’s actions as in the Malolo Massacre of 1840—predictive of all future atrocities in this empire’s international relations—and the charades behind the takeover of Hawaii in 1893, and the Spanish–American War of 1898. Notes from San Juan explain that all these came in the context of material factors including the suppression of the Native Americans, the trafficking of slaves before the Opium Wars, and the transport of “coolie” labor since then, among others, critique of which—including the pious hypocrisy of missionaries—underlied Herman Melville’s themes in his Moby Dick, but all nonetheless contributing to the consolidation of the US commercial and industrial base that allowed and required expansion, a kind of critical analysis that cultural studies should return to.
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