Monday, April 27, 2020


Although capitalism and global trade were making population a less and less important geopolitical factor, it is worth noting that the world's most populous countries in 1901 were China, with 350 million, British India with 294 million, Russia with 146 million, the United States with 75.9 million, Germany with 56.3 million, France with 38.9 million, Italy with 32.4 million and Austria with 26.1 million. A glance at the United States' key population and steel production figures show her already burgeoning power during this period. In 1880 there were around fifty million Americans, in 1901 nearly seventy-six and by 1905 no fewer than eighty-four. Meanwhile, in 1880 the US produced 3.84 million tons of steel (against Britain's 7.75 million and Germany's 2.69 million), whereas by 1900 the figures were 13.8 million, 9.0 million and 8.4 million respectively. The biggest leap came in 1907, when America's 25.8 million tons comprised more  than Britain's 9.9 million and Germany's 12.7 million combined. Coal production figures for 1901 similarly mirror these other indicators of relative economic power, with the US producing 268 million tons, against Britain's 219 million and Germany's 112 million. It was calculated that at around the turn of the century, the United States could buy all the assets of Great Britain outright, with still enough left over to settle her national debt too. Into this promising situation, with a determination to translate America's wealth into power, stepped the protean genius of Theodore Roosevelt.

- From A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts

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