Imperialism and Social Classes by Joseph Alois Schumpeter

By Joseph Alois Schumpeter

Language NotesText: English (translation)Original Language: German [C:\Users\Microsoft\Documents\Calibre Library]

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Whenever it was dominated by a state, as happened at times, for example under the Roman emperors and later under Charlemagne and Henry III, the expansive drive of the faith at once showed signs of merging into the expansive trend of the state in question; and if this did not happen on a more intensive scale, it was only because the relationship between the universal state and the Church never endured for very long. Such incidents, however, remained accessory aberrations; for, by and large and to an ever-increasing degree, Imperialism in Practice 41 the Church maintained itself as a specifically clerical, supergovernmental, and supernational power, not merely ideologically but also practically, in accordance with the power resources and organizational methods at its disposal.

This is the question of the nature of the imperialist mentality and constitutes our problem. Even less satisfactory than the explanation by flimsy pre` texts is the theory that points to the interest in booty and tribute, or in commercial advantages. Of course such elements are never lacking. Yet the Persians, of all conquerors were remarkably mild toward the peoples they subjugated Imperialism in Practice 29 They never even remotely exploited them to the extent that would have been possible. Naturally they did seek some return from their conquests, once they had been made.

Just as happens today, public opinion looked primarily to personal motives on the part of the ruling men—a line of inquiry that turns history into a form of gossip richly embroidered with romance. As for Cambyses, he was a warrior and the overlord of a mighty power. He needed deeds, for himself and for it. Egypt was not a particularly suitable object of aggression—but there it was, and so it was attacked. The truth of this interpretation is proved by the fact that the Persians never dreamed of stopping in Egypt but were intent on pushing on, to Siwah and Carthage on the one hand, and to the south on the other —even though there were no princesses to offer convenient pretexts for war.

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