POL326Y1 Lecture 6: Colony to Great Power Lecture

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26 Aug 2019
Secretary of defense is typically a civilian with a civilian background; chief of staff is a general
o The Trump admin doesn’t think state department could advance American interests; either the
military or the intelligence apparatus; this is worrisome
Constructivists and American foreign policy
o Not all IR scholars agree with this
o Certain aspects of American foreign policy indicated that crucial decision
o Barrett’s:
The emergence of US was partly due to the spread of Western European cultures throughout the rest of
the globe in the form of colonialismthe US is a product of empire
o Somewhat useful to briefly look at colonialism that gave rise to the US and the structures it created
and how it influenced the US
Wallerstein: colonialism was a search by European powers was rich to exploit, weak to be conquered;
began with travel of merchants in search for commodities in short supply
o Commodities: spices and silk
o Areas of interest: areas of Far East (India, China)
Easy to be exploited, hard to conquer or dominate
o Columbus decided to hit west instead of east; Europeans were “dirtier”—European agriculture in
facilitating contact with European animals had diseases, included lack of hygiene
Europeans as a result developed a series of diseases
Charles Mann: within the 1st decade of European contact, half of population died
o Europeans engaged in mop-up civilizations to exploit the wealth
o First phase of colonialism was a phase of plunder
The Portuguese sought to make use of their colonies by incorporating them into their
empire when dealing with the issue that they had too many nobles in their territory
The Spanish offered states to their sons to encourage them to stay in Western Hem
o A European elite dominated mass/central America
In the US, the pattern was different
o There weren’t obvious riches that could be easily plundered under North America
o Allowed for later entrance under the competition; British/French claim territory in North America
o In Jamestown, Virginia and officers from Britain were motivated to search for riches; came to
conclude that there wasn’t any gold in Virginia
Yet they found that climate in Virginia was good for sugar, tobacco; production of those
commodities required a tremendous amount of labor
Settlement of Jamestown was where they first introduced American slavery
The other pattern in US derived from first settlement
o Began with Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts; settlers arrived towards enriching themselves; prime
motivation was to escape religious persecution in western Europe
o There were certainly important assets that were crucial in the British empire
o 2 distinct economies emerged
Classical Dependency: economy is based on export of raw, agricultural materials that’s
supplied through importing manufactured goods
Self-sufficiency: economy of the North; most of what was produced was what’s available in
western Europe
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