Coal and Empire

Coal and Empire

Author: Peter A. Shulman

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9781421417066

Category: History

Page: 333

View: 110

Since the early twentieth century, Americans have associated oil with national security. From World War I to American involvement in the Middle East, this connection has seemed a self-evident truth. But, as Peter A. Shulman argues, Americans had to learn to think about the geopolitics of energy in terms of security, and they did so beginning in the nineteenth century: the age of coal. Coal and Empire insightfully weaves together pivotal moments in the history of science and technology by linking coal and steam to the realms of foreign relations, navy logistics, and American politics. Long before oil, coal allowed Americans to rethink the place of the United States in the world. Shulman explores how the development of coal-fired oceangoing steam power in the 1840s created new questions, opportunities, and problems for U.S. foreign relations and naval strategy. The search for coal, for example, helped take Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in the 1850s. It facilitated Abraham Lincoln's pursuit of black colonization in 1860s Panama. After the Civil War, it led Americans to debate whether a need for coaling stations required the construction of a global empire. Until 1898, however, Americans preferred to answer the questions posed by coal with new technologies rather than new territories. Afterward, the establishment of America's string of island outposts created an entirely different demand for coal to secure the country's new colonial borders, a process that paved the way for how Americans incorporated oil into their strategic thought. By exploring how the security dimensions of energy were not intrinsically linked to a particular source of power but rather to political choices about America's role in the world, Shulman ultimately suggests that contemporary global struggles over energy will never disappear, even if oil is someday displaced by alternative sources of power. "Enlightening reading for anyone interested in the politics and economics of energy."—Choice "Exciting to read. It is the product of someone who is such a gifted writer."—New Books Network "Peter Shulman's excellent new book mines the pre-history of the relationship between ideas about energy extraction and the building of the United States as an imperial nation."—Explorations in Federal History "A major contribution to foreign policy history and an essential read for any scholar interested in the development of policy and technology during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."—H-Net Reviews "In his exhaustively researched book, Shulman convincingly argues for the centrality of coal to nineteenth-century American domestic and foreign policy. His fast-paced and wide-ranging work recounts a number of fascinating episodes central to nineteenth-century American history through the lens of energy needs."—Diplomatic History "[Shulman's] rich text provides a vital contribution to our understanding of how resource exploitation—and hence science and technological change—was woven into the history of economics, international affairs, and domestic politics."—Journal of American History "Coal and Empire offers an intellectual feast for both historians and modern energy scholars. Meticulously researched and expertly written, it attempts to show how an energy fuel, in this instance coal, became an integral part of United States national security in the nineteenth century."—Technology and Culture "A forceful book—well-written, eye-opening, and analytically sharp. Coal and Empire is essential reading for anyone interested in the deep roots of the modern fossil economy."—American Historical Review "Regardless of where you stand on the nineteenth-century US imperial question, the resources, technology, and politics behind expanding US interests have long needed the careful treatment Coal and Empire provides."—Historical Geography "The book is an important one, and the histories of more quotidian commodities need more attention more generally. By using coal as a lens Shulman shows its integral place across US history and the development of its global role into the twentieth century."—Mariner's Mirror "Innovative and important analyses of the specific role of engineers and technology in provoking changes in energy policies, and thus international relations. [B]y delivering a detailed and accurate historical reconstruction of energy in nineteenth-century America, the book provides an interesting comparative case to present narratives about oil and energy security in the contemporary United States."—AMBIX "While the book is an excellent stand-alone study of the American adoption of coal for naval, mercantile, and imperial gains, it also is a fascinating addition to the growing field of energy history. Readers searching for an in-depth examination of naval and government policy will find what they seek, but so too will those interested in broader American, environmental, and energy histories."—Canadian Journal of History

Powering Empire

Powering Empire

Author: On Barak

Publisher: University of California Press

ISBN: 9780520310728

Category: History

Page: 339

View: 262

The Age of Empire was driven by coal, and the Middle East—as an idea—was made by coal. Coal’s imperial infrastructure presaged the geopolitics of oil that wreaks carnage today, as carbonization threatens our very climate. Powering Empire argues that we cannot promote worldwide decarbonization without first understanding the history of the globalization of carbon energy. How did this black rock come to have such long-lasting power over the world economy? Focusing on the flow of British carbon energy to the Middle East, On Barak excavates the historic nexus between coal and empire to reveal the political and military motives behind what is conventionally seen as a technological innovation. He provocatively recounts the carbon-intensive entanglements of Western and non-Western powers and reveals unfamiliar resources—such as Islamic risk-aversion and Gandhian vegetarianism—for a climate justice that relies on more diverse and ethical solutions worldwide.

Empires of Coal

Empires of Coal

Author: Shellen Xiao Wu

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804794732

Category: History

Page: 280

View: 563

From 1868–1872, German geologist Ferdinand von Richthofen went on an expedition to China. His reports on what he found there would transform Western interest in China from the land of porcelain and tea to a repository of immense coal reserves. By the 1890s, European and American powers and the Qing state and local elites battled for control over the rights to these valuable mineral deposits. As coal went from a useful commodity to the essential fuel of industrialization, this vast natural resource would prove integral to the struggle for political control of China. Geology served both as the handmaiden to European imperialism and the rallying point of Chinese resistance to Western encroachment. In the late nineteenth century both foreign powers and the Chinese viewed control over mineral resources as the key to modernization and industrialization. When the first China Geological Survey began work in the 1910s, conceptions of natural resources had already shifted, and the Qing state expanded its control over mining rights, setting the precedent for the subsequent Republican and People's Republic of China regimes. In Empires of Coal, Shellen Xiao Wu argues that the changes specific to the late Qing were part of global trends in the nineteenth century, when the rise of science and industrialization destabilized global systems and caused widespread unrest and the toppling of ruling regimes around the world.

Coal, Steam and Ships

Coal, Steam and Ships

Author: Crosbie Smith

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781107196728

Category: History

Page: 473

View: 917

An innovative account of the trials and tribulations of first-generation Victorian mail steamship lines, their passengers and the public.

Miners and the State in the Ottoman Empire

Miners and the State in the Ottoman Empire

Author: Donald Quataert

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 9781782387220

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 752

The story of the miners of Zonguldak presents a particularly graphic local lens through which to examine questions that have been of major concern to historians—most prominently, the development of the state, the emergence of capitalism, and the role of the working classes in these large processes. This book examines such major issues through the actual experiences of coal miners in the Ottoman Empire. The encounters of mine workers with state mining officials and private mine operators do not follow the expected patterns of labor-state-capital relations as predicted by the major explanatory paradigms of modernization or dependency. Indeed, as the author clearly shows, few of the outcomes are as predicted. The fate of these miners has much to offer both Ottoman and Middle East specialists as well as scholars of the developing world and, more generally, those interested in the connections between economic development and social and political change.