Love, Eric T.L. 1965- (Eric Tyrone Lowery Love)

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Love, Eric T.L. 1965- (Eric Tyrone Lowery Love)


Born May 8, 1965. Education: Brown University, B.A.; University of Vermont, M.A.; Princeton University, M.A., Ph.D.


Office—University of Colorado, 234 UCB, Hellems, Ste. 204, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail—[email protected].edu.


Historian, educator, and writer. University of Colorado, Boulder, assistant professor.


Race over Empire: Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865-1900, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2004.


Eric T.L. Love is a historian whose teaching and research focuses on U.S. history from the early period through World War I. His principal emphasis is on how political, social, cultural, economic, and racial developments shaped the nation historically, both domestically and in its global relations.

In his first book, Race over Empire: Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865-1900, the author focuses on the issues of race and racism in the context of American imperialist ventures in the nonwhite world. Writing in the book's preface, the author notes: "This book is about race, racism, and U.S. imperialism from 1865 to 1900, from the end of the Civil War to the annexations that followed the Spanish-American War. It was originally conceived as a critical reinterpretation, as a challenge to the prevailing narratives on race and American imperialism which insist that racial ideologies, ascendant in the last years of the nineteenth century—Anglo Saxonism, social Darwinism, benevolent assimilation, manifest destiny, and the ‘white man's burden’—worked most significantly to advance empire."

To support his claim, the author discusses events such as President Ulysses S. Grant's effort to acquire the Dominican Republic in 1870 and the annexations of Hawaii and the Philippines in 1898. The author details how, in his view, the imperialists' relationship with the racist ideologies of the era was not harmonious but rather antagonist. According to the author, pragmatic politicians did not want to place nonwhites at the center of an already controversial imperialistic project by invoking the idea of a white man's burden, especially in a period that included Jim Crow, lynch- ing, Chinese exclusion, and immigration issues. "One wonders at first sight whether another book on race and empire could possibly find anything new and useful to say on that well-worn topic," wrote David Healy in Diplomatic History. "Eric Love's recent work demonstrates that it is indeed possible to do so. His keen analysis and rigorous argument have produced a valuable and original study."

In his critical reinterpretation of the complex interactions between politics, race, labor, immigration, and foreign relations at the dawn of the American century, the author focuses on three proposed annexations in U.S. history: the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, and the Philippines. "According to Love, racism was so dominant in the United States that Congress refused to annex territories with large nonwhite populations," noted Edward S. Kaplan in the Historian. In his book, the author notes how Grant never mentioned race in his campaign to annex the Dominican Republic but many years later used it as a rationale for the annexation, noting that American blacks wishing to escape racist America could find a sanctuary there. In the case of Hawaii, William McKinley had become president and headed an empowered Republican Party in control of the Hawaiian annexation issue and the reframing of the issue. The author notes that the proponents of annexing Hawaii reacted to the intense hostility to their idea by developing a new argument. They stated that they wanted to annex Hawaii as a white republic under threat from too much Asian immigration.

"Eric T. Love's Race over Empire … is that rare book that will fundamentally change how U.S. historians approach an important topic," wrote Edmund F. Wehrle in the Journal of Southern History. Wehrle went on to note in the same review: "Sympathetically portraying President William McKinley as a realist ‘unmoved by issues of race,’ Love insists annexationists were motivated by real concerns about military and international security."

Writing in the book's preface, the author notes: "A final word. This book is based on the premise that in the long history of the United States, racism has always been destructive toward innovation and progressive things. The findings presented throughout this book only reaffirm that belief in my mind. Racism is not simply a burden borne by its most obvious victims; it was a problem of power as well."



Love, Eric T.L., Race over Empire: Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865-1900, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2004.


American Historical Review, December, 2005, Cyrus Veeser, review of Race over Empire, p. 1541.

Choice, July-August, 2005, J.C. Livingston, review of Race over Empire, p. 2050.

Diplomatic History, April, 2006, David Healy, review of Race over Empire, p. 297.

Historian, spring, 2006, Edward S. Kaplan, review of Race over Empire, p. 144.

Journal of American History, December, 2005, Michael J. Devine, review of Race over Empire, p. 1010.

Journal of Southern History, August, 2006, Edmund F. Wehrle, review of Race over Empire, p. 687.


University of Colorado Web site, (April 25, 2008), faculty profile of author.