What is imperialism?
It is often considered in a negative light, as merely the exploitation of native people in order to enrich a small handful. The Age of Imperialism was a time period beginning around 1700 when modern, relatively developed nations were taking over less developed areas, colonizing them, or influencing them in order to expand their own power.
Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become “commonwealths,” and colonies become “territories” or “dominions” (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, “commonwealths” too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of “national defense,” “national security,” and maintaining “stability” in one or another region.