Pax Americana

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Pax Americana[1][2][3] (Latin for "American Peace") is an appellation applied to the historical concept of relative peace in the Western hemisphere and, later, the Western world, resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States of America starting around the turn of the 20th century. Although the term finds its primary utility in the later half of the 20th century, it has been used in various places and eras, such as the post United States Civil War Era in North America[4] and globally during the time between the Great World Wars.[2]

Pax Americana is primarily used in its modern connotations concerning the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945. In this modern sense, the term has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations. The term derives from and is inspired by the Pax Romana of the Roman empire, the Pax Britannica of the British Empire and the Pax Mongolica of the Mongol Empire.[5]

Contents

Early period

The first articulation of a Pax Americana occurred after the end of the American Civil War, with reference to the peaceful nature of the North American geographical region, and was abeyant at the commencement of the First World War. Its emergence was concurrent with the development of a view of the United States as a nation distinguished from others by an American exceptionalism. This view holds that the United States occupies a special niche among developed nations[6] in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, political and religious institutions and unique origins. The concept originates from Alexis de Tocqueville,[7] who asserted that the then-50-year-old United States held a special place among nations, because it was a country of immigrants and the first modern democracy. From the establishment of the United States after the American Revolution until the Spanish-American War, the Foreign policy of the United States reflected the country's regional, as compared to global, focus. The Pax Americana, which the Union enforced upon the states of central North America, was a factor in the United States' national prosperity. The larger states were surrounded by smaller states, but these had no anxieties: no standing armies to require taxes and hinder labor; no wars or rumors of wars that would interrupt trade; there is not only peace, but security, for the Pax Americana of the Union covered all the states within the federal constitutional republic.[4] According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first time the phrase appeared in print was in the August 1894 issue of Forum: "The true cause for exultation is the universal outburst of patriotism in support of the prompt and courageous action of President Cleveland in maintaining the supremacy of law throughout the length and breadth of the land, in establishing the pax Americana."[8]

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