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Empire Building, Essay Example

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Empire building is the “act of attempting to increase the size and scope of an individual or organization’s power and influence (Investopedia)”.  In history, an empire was built when a single entity had supreme rule and power of a large number of territories, consisting of people with different ethnicities and nationalities. There are many empires that lasted long in power and were ruled by either an emperor or king. (Listfirst.com) One of the largest empires in history was the “Ottoman Empire”, which started in the 1300s and lasted until after World War I. The Ottoman Empire included territories of the Eastern Roman Empire and parts of the northern Balkans and north Black Sea. (Quataert, 3)  In fact, it contained 29 provinces and many vassal states. Due to its vast territory, the Ottoman Empire was the epicenter of interactions between the Eastern and Western world for six centuries (Listfirst.com) The Roman Empire is another example of a great empire.  During the middles ages, the Roman Empire was considered a great power. The whole Empire was composed of northern Italy, Germany, eastern France and parts of western Poland. Even though the Roman Empire was smaller than the Ottoman Empire and other empires, its power and influence on history is still recognized. (Listfirst.com)

Throughout history there were many great empires, like the Ottoman and Roman Empire, and these empires were built of size and power.  The immense size and power of the empires resulted in kingdoms being impassable and armed forces being unstoppable.  However, there are always consequences to trying to reach the state of being invincible. The building of empires forced people with less power and prestige to follow their way or life, ridding the option of freedom for people. Rulers of empires seek necessary actions to end any sort of freedom that exists within the empire.  The consequence for the lack of freedom within an empire leads to the desire for self governance among the people. The increase in innate self governance results in the declination of the strong empires and the rise of independence.

Britain is another example of a great empire, in which the Britain Empire had a huge influence on the World. For instance, Elizabeth Buettner indicates in her review on the Cultures of Empire, “It is now increasingly common to assert that empire was crucial to the identity of colonizers as well as colonized, that Britain’s domestic and overseas histories cannot be disentangled, and that imperial dimensions continue to be relevant in Britain as well as former colonies in the wake of wide scale decolonization after the Second World War”. (Buettner, 2000)

History has seen the rise and fall of many empires. Just in the twentieth century there was the fall of several empires, such as Mandarin China, Germany, Ottoman Turkey, Japan, Austria-Hungary, and the British Empire. As mentioned previously, the empires although forcing the ruling over their people, did contribute and influence history, culture, the government and the military. There is, however, consequences to building an empire and it seems to be a global pattern. Currently, the threat of worldwide terrorism against the West is increasing. The fall of the twin towers on September 11, 2001, was the first major hit on the remaining superpower, much like an Empire, the United States.  The key to the success of the United States is not portraying itself as an empire and leading to severe consequences, such as rebellion of its people. In addition, empire decline in history may have been from the use of its capital and resources.  Empires did not common ground with other states or countries outside its ruling, resulting in lack of trade. (Perkins 2002)   For instance, by the 17th century, the Europeans consolidated their control of the sea trade routes and by-passed the Middle East, diminishing trade to the Ottoman Empire. Further decline of empires was a result of education. The intellectual decline in the Ottoman Empire, for example, occurred due to the lack of resistance to new ideas from the forcing of primitive Ottoman civilization. Consequences of building an empire can therefore be summarized as the beginning of the fall of the empire due to lack of independence, cohesion and willingness to change. (Chambers)  This also is in part due to the type of leadership in the society.

In the World’s history, there have been outstanding individuals that have transformed the history of the world. These individuals have put forth an incredible influence for the people, an influence that is even studied and reviewed in our current times.  These individuals are leaders and these leaders have left a mark in World history.  “Leadership is the process by which one person influences the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of others. Leaders set a direction for the rest of us; they help us see what lies ahead; they help us visualize what we might achieve; they encourage us and inspire us. Without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict (Mills 11)”.  This is why leaders are extremely important for our nations, especially in times of danger. You can use the analogy of parents and children. Effective parenting helps children develop into productive human beings. The parents are the leaders and the children are the people. If a nation or society has an effective leader, the society will develop into a productive culture.

With leadership, the need for followers is also necessary.  The threat of Hitler’s Germany and England is a good example of the need for an effective leader and follows.  Winston Churchill proclaimed that their country needed to take measures against Hitler; however, England did not want to engage in a war and wanted to leave Hitler alone to satisfy him. Churchill’s leadership was not followed and the First World War began.  The people of England saw what a good leader Churchill was and he became the prime minister of the United Kingdom with the people backing his leadership. (Mills, 12)   Hitler, on the other hand, although had numerous followers was not an effective leader and led his country to the fall of communist government in Germany.

Who qualifies as a good leader in our past history? According to Aristotle, a good leader must have ethos, pathos and logos. “The ethos is his moral character, the source of his ability to persuade.  The pathos is his ability to touch feelings, to move people emotionally.  The logos are his ability to give solid reasons for an action, to move people intellectually (Mortimer)”. In terms of molding a society, in the United States, as well as many other countries, we choose who we want to lead us. In our case, our current President, Barak Obama was chosen for his leadership qualities. For instance, the American presidency position is an occupation that requires different types of leadership skills and someone who can represent those skills. Barack Obama is known for his charisma and his ability to gather others to his side. His approach and his vision to make a different in our country and in foreign country’s put faith in him as a leader. We saw in the Bush administration, President Bush had an “ethnocentric foreign policy (  )”. Obama’s leadership skills are more cross-cultural in that he wanted to lead not only the United States, but put interest into other nations. Almost like building an empire, but with freedom involved for the country’s people.

No matter what type or style of leader one is, the most important and effective leader will be one that is willing to encourage his or her people to develop and continually change as society changes. Leaders are the primary influencers in people’s lives. People look for reason and goals in a leader. This ultimately affects how a society will develop as a whole. A leader can also serve to influence other leaders within the developing society and guide them to reshape and change with society as needed.   New ideas, wars, and problems continually occur and the reaction and response to these issues are dependent on the leadership capabilities.

Works Cited

Buettner, E. 2000. Cultures of Empire: Colonizers in Britain and the Empire in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Reader. Edited by Hall, C.  Manchester University Press.

Chambers, R.L.  The Ottoman Empire 16700-1923. The University of Chicago.  Retrieved on December 6, 2011 from: http://www.turizm.net/turkey/history/ottoman3.html

Hub Pages.  President Barack Obama’s Leadership Styles 89. Retrieved on December 6, 2011 from: http://ecoggins.hubpages.com/hub/Barack-Obamas-Leadership-Styles

Investipedia ULC.  2011. Empire Building. 2011 Retrieved on December 6, 2011 from: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/empirebuilding.asp#ixzz1flUIsLq1

Perkin, H. 2002. The Rise and Fall of Empire. 2002. History Today. Vol. 52(4). Retrieved on December 5, 2011 from: http://www.historytoday.com/harold-perkin/rise-and-fall-empires

Mills, D. 2005.  The Importance of Leadership. Chapter 1. 23pp. Retrieved on December 6, 2011 from: http://www.mindedgepress.com/PDFs/htlhtl.pdf

Mortimer, A.  July 15, 1974. Special Section: Who Were History’s Great Leaders? Time Magazine. Retrieved on December 6, 2011 from: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,879377,00.html

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