The Pursuit For World Domination

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In the early 20th century, world domination was a realistic notion advocated by American leaders, specifically, then-Governor and future President, Theodore Roosevelt. Many outspoken political commentators opposed this notion and believed world domination was excessive and unnecessary and was not in America’s best interest. One of these political commentators was none other than the revered Mark Twain, who, in his 1901 satirical piece, “To the Person Sitting in Darkness”, attempts to expose the downsides of American expansionism. Twain accomplishes this by satirically describing the pursuit for world domination as a “game” between coercive countries and highlighting the deceptive nature of these countries to win the “game”. Also through…show more content…
By using imagery and symbolism, Mark Twain attempts to demonize American foreign policy by portraying it as dishonest and opportunistic. Twain uses the term “Christendom” to describe America and other players of the “game” whose objective is to conquer foreign nations. Twain uses the term “Those Sitting in Darkness” to describe the nations “Christendom” is attempting to conquer. It is readily apparent that Twain is implying that the nations who house “person’s sitting in darkness” have not seen the light of “Christendom”, which means they are non-Christian nations. To drive home this point Twain gives the example of China, a prominently secular nation, stating it houses countrymen who are “sitting in darkness” (Twain 3). Twain explains that in order to to gain access to these countrymen and conquer their land, America must appeal to their trust by showing them the “Blessings of Civilization”. This is a form of religious imagery as Twain is implying that “Christendom” is blessed by a higher power and have an appealing set of morals and virtues that they can offer unblessed nations.
However, Twain suggests in numerous occasions that these “Blessings of Civilization” are merely a guise to help gain the trust of “those sitting in darkness” in order to better conquer them. After describing the “Blessings of Civilization” Twain mockingly states, “There. Is it good? Sir, it is pie. It will bring into camp any
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