Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Forge of Empires, Michael Knox Beran

This book covers the years of 1861 and 1871 and the revolutions of Abraham Lincoln, Tsar Alexander II, and Otto von Bismarck. The subtitle is “Three Revolutionary Statesmen and The World They Made”. What did these men do? Lincoln freed 4 M slaves, Alexander freed 27M serfs and Bismarck swept away an archaic jumble of completing sovereign ties, so many duchies and grand bailiwicks, and secured the prosperity of a region.

Free states like England and US liberated their people’s energies and the institutions of freedom were poised to carry all before them. But there was a countervailing reaction that set in the privileged cases to defend their prerogatives. In Russia, Germany and America, grandees with their backs to the wall meet the challenge of liberty with a philosophy of coercion to protect their power. (Slavery is a system of coercion.)

A couple of methods came with this philosophy. One was paternalism in which the master is a father to the works and looks after them. This is designed to regulate the masses. Another idea was militant nationalism. This is the right of superior people to impose their will on inferior people.

The book also talks about the southern people being Cavaliers. Like the Cavaliers who, in the 17th Century, fought for Charles I in England. Kevin Phillips brings up this point in his book, The Cousins’ Wars. Read an interview with Kevin at PBS.

One thing I learned from this book that I did not know was they Tsar Alexander II send the Russian fleet to US in 1863. He sent the Atlantic fleet to New York and the Pacific fleet to San Francisco Bay. This ended hope of England and France to intervene to help the South.

There is not much online about this book or author, but there is one book review at foreign affairs.

Michael Knox Beran also writes for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. See some of his writings at their site.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Beran. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.