Should the United States expand its territory?

In the course of websurfing I came across the site of an organization called the Expansionist Party of the United States – the url is – which exists to advocate U.S. territorial expansion, starting with the annexation of Canada and proceeding to, as a start, the rest of the English-speaking world – the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, possibly South Africa, possibly the Philippines. All these regions, or their constituent provinces or states, are to be admitted as full states of the Union, not colonies or territories. The party also favors full statehood for all existing U.S. territory possessions such as Puerto Rico. In short, they want the British Empire, or parts of it, and what there has been of an American Empire, or parts of it, put back together under the United States Constitution. Notably, the Expansionist Party was AGAINST the Iraq war. They want our borders expanded peacefully, not by conquest.

I’m for it, I suppose, at least with regards to Canada. Merging with Canada would be a good thing for the Canadian people and an even better thing for the American people. The Canadians would be a very beneficial presence in the U.S. Congress. The Canadians have contributed troops to most of Britain’s conflicts but they have no significant war-glory tradition of their own, they are not afflicted with any national myth of “Canadian exceptionalism.” We could count on them to vote against any reckless foreign military adventures. We could also use some of those Canadian New Democrats in Congress – they’re much further left than our Democratic Party. I just wish we could arrange it so Canada annexes the United States rather than the other way around, so that

  1. we get single-payer health care out of the deal, and

  2. the FBI is merged into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, rather than vice-versa, so that in the future all federal agents in North America will have to attend public functions dressed up like Dudley Doright!

But I digress.

Before discussing this we have to acknowledge a couple of obvious facts. First, any future territorial expansion would be fundamentally different from all our earlier expansion, in that it would be a purely political change and would not be followed by any significant movements of population or geocultural changes. In the past, as the U.S. expanded westward across North America, acquisition of territory always was followed by a wave of Anglo-American settlers moving into it and making it their own. In some case (Texas, California, Hawaii) the Anglo-American settlers, or “filibusterers,” came first, and the U.S. government followed along later. But no more. Every place on the globe that might be colonized in this way, has been colonized. If the U.S. were to annex the Canadian provinces as American states, there would be no noticeable wave of migration north or south of the former border. The Canadian provincial governments would continue to operate, as going concerns, in substantially their present form. Daily life in Canada would not change. The only changes would be at the national-political level: Ottowa would no longer be the capital of anything. Canadians would elect senators and representatives to the U.S. Congress. The Canadian Army would be merged into the U.S. Army. All bureaucratic organs of the Canadian government would be abolished, or grafted onto their U.S. counterparts; Canadian civil servants would become U.S. civil servants and, most likely, would not have to worry about losing their jobs. The U.S. would inherit all of Canada’s problems, including relations with its Indians and Inuit.

Second, any further territorial expansion would require the U.S. to make a public decision we’ve never really made before, about what kind of state we are or want to be: Are we a nation-state, or an idea-state?

Some liberal commentators proclaim that everything that is important about America as a country is in our laws, constitution and political culture; that we are an idea-state, like the Soviet Union, only based on a better idea. One (I forget who) even declared that an America populated entirely by Martians would still be America, if it still had our constitution, etc.

At the opposite extreme, Michael Lind argued persuasively in his 1992 book, “The Next American Nation,” that we are, in fact, a nation-state, with a distinct national core culture that was formed by the experience of Anglo-Celtic settlers in North America, a culture that was already in existence long before we broke away from British rule. If the United States Constitution were scrapped, or other, equally momentous changes took place, America would remain America – just as Poland maintained its existence as an ethnocultural nation through all the centuries when there was no Polish national state.

Now, we can annex the Anglophone provinces of Canada without confronting this question. The English-speaking Canadians are not just exactly like us Yanks, but they are similar enough that you have to look close to spot the differences. Their dialect of English is actually much closer to standard U.S. “anchorman English” than is, for instance, the Southern drawl. As a regional American subculture, they would fit in just fine.

But if we annex Quebec, or grant statehood to Puerto Rico, we’re crossing a line: We would be extending full membership in the American polity to peoples who will NEVER be full members of the American cultural community. We’ve never done that before. Even Hawaii was not granted statehood until its predominant culture was English-speaking American culture. Puerto Rico will never become an Americanized, English-speaking territory in that sense. Neither will Quebec. Only the “idea-state” conception of American identity could justify taking them in.

So, what do the Teeming Millions think?

Not to be overly blunt, and not to destroy the Canadian reputation for politeness, but fuck you.


Oh yes and may I add kiss my chilly Canadian ass while you are at it!

I would love for the US to expand. I have my thoughts about some oil fields, but that’s going to be too controversal. I would like to see colanization of the moon and Mars, perhaps an underwater base and Antartica.

Not too thrilled about taking over other people’s lands though.

I think there is a lot to be said for breaking down economic barries with English speaking countries (Canada*, Australia, etc.). The so-called Ango-sphere. Political union is another story altogether.

*Sorry, Quebec

I think both poles postulated in the OP are quite out of it, but the Expansionist party is just wack. There’s only so big you can make an empire and sustain cohesion. Even the BE at its height involved a large number of “protectorates” and client-princes where Queen Vicky and her PM’s essentially let the locals do what they wanted as long as order was kept and business interests were preserved. True, today there are better communications and data-processing BUT conversely, the relative sophistication of the outlying “states” would be much higher and the demands for participation in decisionmaking, autonomy of local action, and apportionment of resources would be potentially louder – a political rift between, say, a SouthAfrican-Australian-Phillipine faction and a North American faction in Congress could make the incidences of the 1820s-through-50s look like a debate on school vouchers by comparison. Besides, what with the possibility of Free Trade Agreements, Monetary Unions, and NATO-like military alliances, you would not NEED to turn the entire AngloSphere into a single Nation-State in order to have coordinated policies.

The second vision has much closer roots in reality – sadly so, IMO, since it betrays a vision of America as just one more common damn tribe of descendants-of-the-same-mythical-father ; and more dangerously so, too, as that vision can lead some in the extreme to think it’s wise to “put the outsiders in their place” to insure the survival of the Nation. Besides, that kind of attitude is sort of hopeless in that even if America rather than a Neo-Anglo-Celto-Germanic nation-state were defined as a Hamilto-Jeffersonian Ideological State, who’s to say that whoever appropriated that label for themselves (be it Ron-Bush Republicans or Teddy K Democrats) would then not also recur to “put the outsiders in their place”.

Basically, I’d rather we expand a FreedomSphere and be happy if there is a maximum spread of liberty and justice even if it means diluting the Anglo-American hegemony in the long run (slim chance that’ll happen in my lifetime) . If there’s to be any actual annexation of extra territories, let it be considered if requested by the parties to be annexed, and carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to the interests of BOTH. (Sure, I’ll want some special consideration to my cohorts in the various US overseas territories, after all I expect better of the USA than to just say “seeya!” to 4+ million citizens across two oceans after 100 years of rule – maybe add a Constitutional Amendment to give us representantion conditioned/proportional to taxation, if outright statehood is distasteful to someone. )

Well, I can’t speak for them, but I’ll be happy to give you my opinion:

Bollocks. Bollocks from beginning to end. So much bollocks that if you lined them all up you could walk from here to New Zealand on bollocks without ever getting your feet wet. I’ve never seen such a load of bollocks, and I come from a long, storied ancestry of champion bollocks-loaders.

Seriously, though, I fail to see a single compelling benefit to either the US or the countries to be annexed. Here, I’ll submit a counter-proposal: if some connection to the language of England is the criterion (and even that is debateable: the Philippines? South Africa? Puerto Rico?), how about if the US asks instead for permission to join the Commonwealth of Nations?



[Moderator Hat ON]

Comments like this are NOT appropriate in this forum; stop it NOW.

[Moderator Hat OFF]

I think it’s a load of bat quano, personally. I mean, come on, these guys who write this stuff are obviously just trying to get a top spot at Crank Dot Net.

Hey I’m all for a federal style transnational state with Canada, the US, Britain and Australia and NZ.

Of course we will be replacing the US congress and constitution to represent this new political experiment. There’s no problem with that, is there?

Ok the more I think about this the more I kind of like it. It requires a freakishly swing in American mind set but what the hell.

Canada, UK, Australia and New Zeeland are all huge supporters for transnational institutions like the WTO, UN, WHO, IMF etc. The UN in particular is beloved despite being almost criminally undemocratic and corrupt. Why would these states object to a democratically elected institution providing foreign trade/policy?

The objections that I see are 2 fold. The US would not allow any governing body to be supreme to its congress/president. The others would never accept a US dominated legislature. But if we have 2 legislatures, 1 proportional and 1 representative, would this assuage the concerns of non-US’er? 10 Upper Chamber members per nation would allow the non-US’er an effective block on policy seen as explicitly benefiting the old US.

I have advocated the purchase of the Kamchacka Penninsula for years now. It’s still doable.

Grey, you have my vote. Let’s join all English speaking nations in one union. Keep the Queen, have the US congress expand to include all the new nation, and have a prime minister from the majority party.

Wel hows this? Each state maintains domestic policy (trade/industry etc.) which includes heads of state. The expanded federation requires a popularly elected head so the Queen would not be included in that.

My response did indeed use language inappropriate for this forum, and for that I apologize. However, it was the only response that seemed fitting. I mean seriously. “Merging with Canada would be a good thing for the Canadian people.” :confused: :angry: That’s the sort of arrogant attitude that makes Americans friends the world over. It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to unleash the hordes of Celine clones we have stockpiled the secret facilities in Trois Rivieres upon the US. In short, the comments and tone in the OP make me exceedingly angry, and my initial response was remarkably subdued.

Actually Gorsnak a better answer would have been that you prefer that Canada’s decisions be made in Canada, and that Canada’s experiment remain Canadian.

You might want to look into the impact of the Act Of Union on Scotland though.

Preparing to get flamed! :slight_smile:

You kidding? We can’t even get Guam or Puerto Rico to come across.

I for one would be happy with such an expansionist policy provided only that it did not confine itself to the English-speaking countries. Let’s have the US expand to the whole world, we’d all be safe from the US then. Ah yes, one minor change: the US would rename itself to the United Nations.

I have no problems with the US annexing small, discrete areas (such as Puerto Rico), assuming of course that it’s okay with the small, discrete area in question. Generally speaking (and flame away here, but it’s true), becoming a part of the US is going to be beneficial to the average little splotch of land. They’d benefit from our freedoms, from our protections, and from our economy.

However, I would be extremely hesitant to promote the annexation of any sizeable chunk of territory, such as Canada, Mexico, or even something smaller (like the aforementioned Kamchatka penninsula, assuming I’m correctly estimating its size). Right now, our nation is large, and I can’t foresee it becoming much larger without creating significant problems. It’s hard enough having one governing body for such a wide variety of cultural and geographical subsets as we already have, without adding more into the works. Since the Founding Fathers’ original idea of federalism seems to be quickly eroding, we’d end up trying to shoehorn a single monolithic “ideal” onto yet another region where it may or not fit very well. For something like Canada, this would be less problematic, since Canadian culture is pretty close to our own. But with something like Mexico, or something from the Landmass Formerly Known As the Soviet Union, I can see a potential nightmare. With a strong sense of federalism, it may be doable. With our present style of governance, it just wouldn’t work.

And also, a nation of such considerable size would just be a headache to have to govern, unless we emulated the Late British Empire, and left our more distant territories to their own devices, more or less. And if that’s the case, why bother annexing them in the first place?

So, bottom line, uh-uh. Ain’t gonna do it, wouldn’t be prudent.