View Poll Results: The Greatest Empire in History?

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  • Persian Empire

    0 0%
  • Roman Empire

    30 51.72%
  • Han Empire

    4 6.90%
  • Mayan Empire

    0 0%
  • Mongol Empire

    3 5.17%
  • Portuguese Empire

    0 0%
  • Spanish Empire

    0 0%
  • Russian Empire

    1 1.72%
  • French Empire

    2 3.45%
  • British Empire

    27 46.55%
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Thread: The Greatest Empire in History

  1. #31
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    The Federation.

  2. #32
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    All but reggae are American inventions.
    Sorry, you think folk music is an American invention?!

    Anyway, ska is British, punk is British, folk is just old, electronic is German, dubstep is British, house is American, trance is German, drum and bass is British and reggae is Jamaican.

  3. #33
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    In essence, I think you do not understand the scope of the influence of the British Empire. America's influence truly pales in comparison -- though this is not an insult, I very much think of the US as something of a successor to Britain.

    You're very wrong to think America's influence was actually anywhere near as pervasive as Britain's. You cite things (some of which just proved false) like American music, or American corporations. Britain does you one better on all of these charges and more:

    Britain has given the world industrialism. The computer you're typing on? The chair you sit on? The house you live in? All because of Britain's truly unprecedented (in all of human history) decision to try something totally new instead of mercantilism and human labour.

    Britain has given the world institutional organisation -- bureaucracy as we know it, in fact, is a product of Britain ruling half the world from one city on one island. The transport you take, the food you eat, the railroads and roads that service it all -- British.

    Britain has given the world international diplomacy. The idea that nations can treat with each-other in a society of states is a direct product of the British Empire's meddling in the affairs of literally every nation on Earth.

    The language you speak (English), the concepts you adore (democracy, the rule of law, sovereignty), the means by which your life operates (wage work, entrepreneurism, corporations), and the very society of nations that we find ourselves in (the UN, NATO, the EU, etc.) are all directly a product of the British Empire.
    Britain did at one time rule the waves, but not to the extent America does today. In part, this is due to advancements in technology - imagine what the British could have done in Asia with aircraft carriers.

    The fact is, the United States has coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific. So to say that the British dominated the Pacific as the Americans do today defies common sense.

    I certainly credit the British for the industrial revolution. No argument there.

  4. #34
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    No, he emphatically did not. He even admits so in his own personal journals -- his work was based off of many other inventors. The man usually credited with inventing the 'first' light bulb was Humphry Davy, as I said.

    Who was British.
    Google "who invented the light bulb."

  5. #35
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    BTW Google..... another American invention.

    You're welcome, world.

  6. #36
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    I'm sure there are folks in rural Alabama that believe America built the pyramids, what's the point?

    Roman influence on Europe is undeniable.
    More than Britains? Not a chance.

    Next week in Brazil are they hosting the Gladiator world cup?
    ‘This is not peace, it is an armistice for 20 years.’ (Ferdinand Foch. After the Treaty of Versailles, 1919).

  7. #37
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    I think there's a strong argument for that, yes. But there's also a much, much more vast institutional gap between Rome-Britain and Britain-America. I definitely agree that much of Europe's history has been shaped by Rome, passed down across the centuries.

    But the United States is directly and pervasively the child of the British Empire. Its institutions, legends, history, culture, language, beliefs, and mindset are all Britain's -- the US is a successor to Britain. Which is obvious, of course, because it was a British colony -- so there's no surprise there.

    The difference lies in the institutional continuity. While William the Conqueror may have thought of Rome as some mythical and grandiose concept (or maybe not), even he, at the beginning of 'England', was 1000 years out from the heyday of the Roman Empire.

    The US, by contrast, was directly moulded by the heyday of the British Empire, which I would say extends from 1815 to 1945, whence it ceased to be a superpower, and America took up the gauntlet. It was a direct successor and in fact continues close relations to this day.

    Ancient England's relationship to Rome was nothing of the sort.
    I don't disagree with any of that.

  8. #38
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Higgins86 View Post
    More than Britains? Not a chance.

    Next week in Brazil are they hosting the Gladiator world cup?
    They should be, that would be awesome.

  9. #39
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    They should be, that would be awesome.
    Yeh it kind of would be.
    ‘This is not peace, it is an armistice for 20 years.’ (Ferdinand Foch. After the Treaty of Versailles, 1919).

  10. #40
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    There's a thread bumping around about American exceptionalism, and a common theme in that thread is noting that many great nations have exceptionalist viewpoints and tendencies.

    Over the course of the thread, one user posted a poem as a response to Rudyard Kipling's 'White Man's Burden', a sort of nod to American imperialism in the Philippines marking the US's transition from upstart colony to proper colonial power.

    The poem is extremely well-done, and I am in total awe at how perfectly it nails the response to Kipling. It can be found here:

    Ex-Conservative: The Judgment of Peers

    You'll note that the poem evokes the imagery of the great empires of the world judging America on its imperial capability -- and this imagery got me thinking about the empires of the past.

    So, Debate Politics, vote, for which you think the greatest empire in history was!



    Your options, in chronological order:

    The Persian Empire -- It gets a mention because it was the first empire in recorded history, and brought some pretty revolutionary ideas into common use, like codified law and local government.

    The Roman Empire -- The ancient world's most extensive, and certainly most famous empire. Lasted for an exceptionally long time, especially if you think of the Byzantine Empire as a direct continuation of the Roman Empire, though this isn't well-advised, as the institutional differences between them were vast. Still, there's no doubting that Rome's literature, architecture, philosophy and engineering has made a lasting impression on Europe, and thus the world.

    The Han Empire -- A shining page in Chinese history, in which figures from earlier ages like Confucius and Sun Tzu were mythified and spread across Asia. Impressive legal reforms and a (relatively) meritocratic examination system meant that all of East Asia, from Vietnam, to China, to Mongolia, to Korea to Japan all sought to emulate the Han Empire in the following centuries.

    The Mayan Empire -- Though lost to history and the creep of the jungle, Mayan ruins still tell a story of a civilisation with unique ideas about cosmology and theology. It stretched over much of modern-day Mexico and Central America until the mysterious Mayan Collapse -- the reasons for which no one is quite sure.

    The Mongol Empire -- Through the iron will of one fierce leader, the Mongols were the scourge of the Mediaeval world, and conquered southern Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and even China. After Genghis Khan's death, the Mongols fractured into four 'hordes', evoking imagery of Alexander the Great's successor kingdoms. While the Mongols were eventually driven out by the Russians, Arabs and Persians, they managed to hold on to China for another century. Often depicted as an unstoppable horde of mounted warriors, what the Mongol Empire lacked in administrative capability, it made up for in strength of arms.

    The Portuguese Empire -- The first global empire! Portuguese navigators sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, and showed up in places as far apart as Brazil and Macau off of mainland China, with trading posts by way of Africa and India. Though her influence has waned tremendously, Portugal's exploration paved the way for the next six centuries of European colonialism.

    The Spanish Empire -- At one point stretching from California to Florida to Argentina, Spain's legacy on the New World is unsurpassed in terms of demographics, culture and language. Spain's conquistadors brought about the apocalyptic destruction of the Incas and Aztecs; colonised the New World and sent traders around the Old; and by the time they were done Spain had become so rich that even a moderately wealthy hidalgo wouldn't work a day in his life. Not to say it was not without issues -- Bartolomeo de las Casas was an outspoken critic of Spain's brutal slavery and serfdom systems in the New World.

    The Russian Empire -- The largest contiguous land empire in history (by most counts), the Russian Empire spanned the crown of the world from Alaska to Poland and Finland. An evocative image is the fact that if you were born in 1800, you were more likely than not to live somewhere to the south of the Russian Empire. Even more evocatively, this remains true today. An old and vast country, the Russian Empire inspired both a Northern European Renaissance in beautiful cities like St Petersburg, while remaining shockingly backwards for a European country, only abolishing serfdom in 1862 -- the year before the US abolished slavery.

    The French Empire -- Often called the 'liberal empire' (though this may not seem like such a compliment to some at Debate Politics), revolutionary and Napoleonic France was an intellectual and military powerhouse. Not only did it conquer Europe with one hand and hold off the British with the other, it instituted sweeping revolutionary reform everywhere it went, and its legal system (Napoleon's Civil Law) is now the most widely used legal system on Earth. It was so powerful, both ideationally and practically, that even in defeat at the end of the Waterloo Campaign, it retained a seat at the council presiding over its own peace treaty.

    The British Empire -- The largest empire the world has ever seen, conquering almost a third of the world and leaving its mark indelibly upon modern life. The architect of the Industrial Revolution, international diplomacy, modern civil reforms and labour laws, it is very true to say that we still live in the world created by the British Empire today. For more than a century it remained the foremost global power, administering and arbiting international disputes around the world. With territory on every continent on Earth, there was no corner of the globe that did not feel the power of the British Empire.


    That's it guys, hope you liked the write-ups -- and go vote!
    The US is not an empire so what's your point here?

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