Imperialism and Expansionism in American History
A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection [4 volumes]
by Chris J. Magoc and David Bernstein, Editors
December 2015, 1542pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-429-2
$480, £370, 418€, A658
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-430-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Today’s U.S. military outspends the next 16 nations combined.

This four-volume encyclopedia chronicles the historical roots of the United States' current military dominance, documenting its growth from continental expansionism to hemispheric hegemony to global empire.

This groundbreaking four-volume encyclopedia offers sweeping coverage of a subject central to American history and of urgent importance today as the nation wrestles with a global imperial posture and the long-term viability of the largest military establishment in human history. The work features more than 650 entries encompassing the full scope of American expansionism and imperialism from the colonial era through the 21st-century “War on Terror.”

Readers will learn about U.S.-Native American conflicts; 19th-century land laws; early forays overseas, for example, the opening of Japan; and America’s imperial conflicts in Cuba and the Philippines. U.S. interests in Latin America are explored, as are the often-forgotten ambitions that lay behind the nation’s involvement in the World Wars. The work also offers extensive coverage of the Cold War and today’s ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Middle East as they relate to U.S. national interests. Notable individuals, including American statesmen, military commanders, influential public figures, and anti-imperialists are covered as well. The inclusion of cultural elements of American expansionism and imperialism—for example, Hollywood films and protest music—helps distinguish this set from other more limited works.


  • Overviews the history of American imperialism through chronologically arranged entries that are multidisciplinary, incisively written, and informed by the latest scholarship
  • Covers issues ranging from the fur trade of the frontier era to today's complex engagement in the Middle East and Africa
  • Shares key insights on the intersection of popular culture with the projection of U.S. military power
  • Includes background material and an extensive selection of primary documents that will help students practice critical reading, thinking, and writing skills
  • Features numerous photos, illustrations, and sidebars that enliven the text and engage students in participatory learning
Chris J. Magoc, PhD, is professor of history at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. His published works include Greenwood's Environmental Issues in American History; Yellowstone: The Creation and Selling of an American Landscape, 1870–1903; and ABC-CLIO's Chronology of Americans and the Environment. Magoc holds a doctorate in American studies from the University of New Mexico.

David Bernstein, PhD, is visiting professor of history at Denison University in Granville, OH. His most recent work is How the West Was Drawn: Indians, Maps, and the Construction of the Trans-Mississippi West.


"This thoroughly documented and well-written encyclopedic set is recommended for all audiences and would be especially useful in public and academic libraries."—Booklist, May 26, 2016

"The work is useful for quick access to subjects that are often difficult to find."—Choice, July 1, 2016

"This excellent set offers balanced and informed viewpoints on American expansionism and its current position as a dominant world presence. Upon using this resource, readers and researchers of all levels, including students and nonspecialists, will be much better informed about this critically important subject."—Library Journal, July 1, 2016

"Their book is nothing if not ambitious. It covers a good deal of America’s foreign relations and all of its military ventures in one gulp—a heroic undertaking. . . . This work is a good contribution to its field because it is big and detailed enough to get to grips with the subject."—Reference Reviews, September 27, 2016
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