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America Takes Over the World

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"My fellow Earthicans..."

"Smack talk has no effect on those stronger than you. You and your men have the power to bring men and whole companies to your heels, but we have the power to bring entire nations to our heels, if not to ruin."
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The USA is capable not only of exterminating with its long-range nuclear arsenal, but possibly also using ground forces to successfully invade and occupy any country on Earth including China and India (although the experience of Vietnam should show that superior military hardware is no guarantee against a lower-tech foe with sheer numbers, determination, and significant foreign material aid). Given that the USA chews through about half the entire world's military spending on its own, it might still have this kind of power in forty years or so. Thus, a common conceit of sci-fi and some satire is for the USA to take over the world. Jokes about entire countries becoming the n+50th state are common. The recent economic shift in the new millennium will put this theory to the test. Since at least the 1980s, American culture has grown very popular worldwide due to the rise of computers and the Internet, fast food joints (i.e. McDonald's) and Hollywood movies that use computer generated imagery (CGI) and special effects that are far more renowned than those found in another film industry. Americans including their high school and college students have a more advanced working knowledge of computer science than any other country. While its secondary school test scores are sometimes dismissed as average note  by upper income nation standards, it has a very high rate of tertiary education attainment (even by upper income standards) and the best universities in the world,note  and is considered to possess greater technology and better-access markets to commodities than any other nation. A strong plurality of the world's billionaires are Americans, with Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos being the richest (although fluctuations in his company's value can make him swap ranks with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates).

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Sub-Trope of both Take Over the World and Expanded States of America. Compare United Space of America. See also Japan Takes Over the World, Russia Takes Over the World and China Takes Over the World. The latter two makes it tragic if this trope were not in full effect.

Opposing tropes are Divided States of America, Fallen States of America, and Invaded States of America.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bubblegum Crisis almost everybody has at least half-Western name, and there's a black chief of police, among other decidedly un-Japanese details in this futuristic city of Megatokyo. It's probably a direct Shout-Out to Blade Runner, which featured a huge Japanese population in America.
  • The second season of Darker Than Black reveals the motive of the U.S. involvement in the Gambit Pileup being that America wants to be a superpower again. The ending has American forces invading Japan, and it's implied that they succeed to some degree. Of course, this is one of the less bizarre events that happens in that ending.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 America clearly dominates the Union powerbloc that includes the entire western hemisphere, plus Japan.
  • In Code Geass most of the world is dominated by the Holy Britannian Empire, but Britain itself has been lost. However, the American Revolution was crushed and thus the colonies became the new base of the empire, which proceeded to take over the entirety of both American continents.

    Comic Books 
  • In Superman: Red Son, Superman, who in this Alternate Universe landed in the Soviet Union as a baby and was indoctrinated by Josef Stalin and eventually becomes the Soviet Premier, integrates almost all the world (minus the USA and Chile) into the Soviet Union and enforces his rule through harsh methods like forcible lobotomies on dissidents. However, when Superman tries to annex the United States, President Lex Luthor outsmarts and seemingly kills him. In the aftermath, the liberated nations in the former Global Soviet Union now sign up to join Lex's new Global United States. The Global United States later colonizes the entire Solar System, thus taking this trope to interplanetary levels.
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    Films - Animated 
  • Team America: World Police revolves around a team of American patriot puppets enforcing America's own interests across the globe and that the only nation gone rogue is North Korea.

    Films - Live Action 
  • Bill Williamson in Rampage (2009) and its two sequels states this trope is in full effect and he is anti-American. Bill, who was a low-class mechanic making $8 or less an hour, took to becoming a mass shooter and did armed robbery on a bank to escape his financial problems. Bill asserts that America is without universal health care, strict gun control, regulation on big banks, livable wages and overspends on its military and defense enforcing its best interests upon foreign lands instead of spending on its own people for health care, education, housing or food.
    Bill Williamson: America is the mightiest military superpower in the world fueled by high-tech and geniuses in Silicon Valley and massive advances in computer technology. All just to conquer for the purpose of more poor nations and enslave, raping their companies and exploit their domestic resources.
  • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation, this was Cobra Commander's intent for the whole film. Following Cobra's successful subjugation of the White House and kidnapping the US President as while Zartan impersonates the real one, Zartan calls for a mandatory global summit of every country that holds nuclear weapons for universal disarmament. When the Russian president refuses to give up his own nuclear arsenal (plus standing up for his ally China's self-defense), Zartan decides there's only one option left: fire the US nukes at them. To prevent a global cataclysm that could kill billions, the rest of the atomic powers all unilaterally destroy their own nuclear arsenals only when Zartan starts eliminating his own. Then Zartan unleashes Project Zeus, a satellite Cobra built and installed in space that fires tungsten-rods capable of destroying any city of their choosing.
    Cobra Commander: (regarding the US nuclear football) He who controls this briefcase controls the US nuclear arsenal, and the fate of humanity!

    Literature 
  • In Jennifer Government, the USA has absorbed all of North and South America (except Cuba), the British Islands, India, most of South East Asia, and most recently Australia into a single market. Russia is in the process of being assimilated.
  • Mention is made of a very militarized American Empire in Mortal Engines, though the story takes place After the End and it had already fallen.
    • It's more America Destroys The World. It's mentioned by a character that "the old American Empire was quite insane at the end."
    • Both of the series' important superweapons are explicitly stated to be American, as well.
  • A very popular trope in modern Russian sci-fi. The cliche goes something like this: The U.S. either create some sort of world government or otherwise subjugate most of the world and then invade Russia, the last country keeping them from complete world domination. They either get the shaft during the invasion or succeed in conquering Russia, only to be toppled several years later by a highly badass Russian La Résistance.
  • The Clone Republic series by Steven L. Kent is set in 2508, after the United States took over the world and then became a sort of Constitutional Oligarchy called the Unified Authority.
  • The titular CoDominium is an alliance of the United States and the Soviet Union working together to dominate Earth.
    • Something similar is suggested in side material to Dune.
  • In Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon, the First Men (that is, us) end up being split between US and Chinese spheres of influence. The US eventually tips it, and remains dominant until the entire society collapses due to an energy crisis.
  • The Lionboy trilogy by Zizou Corder includes several off-hand references to 'the Empire'. It takes a bit of reading between the lines for a while to realise that this means America.
  • In America's Galactic Foreign Legion, "the old United States decided to stoop pussyfooting around and opened a can of whupass on Islamic fascist terrorists, communists, greeners OPEC, China and Democrats. The United States conquered the world, creating a new world order, stable food and energy prices and eliminating the threat of weapons of mass destruction ever being used between nation states." America takes over more than just the world.
  • Indirectly in the Lensman series; the Galactic Patrol have their headquarters in New York City due to its role as the leading financial and political powerhouse of Earth and therefore the Solar System. It has rivals in London, Chicago and Stalingrad, but is way ahead of them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Background material for the Firefly 'verse establishes that America and China took over Earth That Was together.
  • The seal for the President of Earth on Babylon 5 is clearly derived from the Seal of the President of the United States.
  • The symbol for Earth Starfleet on Star Trek: Enterprise suggests that it evolved from NASA. Or perhaps not; there are other space agencies with symbols just as similar (though this might be partly a result of influence from previous Star Trek shows).
  • The Goodies. In the "Clown Virus" episode, the Pentagon has gotten so used to regarding Great Britain as a 51st state of the USA that they decide to take it over completely, so they can write it off as a tax loss.

    Music 
  • The album The Uprising by Muse takes place in a world where a coalition government rules all of the Norther Hemisphere, the United States of Eurasia.
  • The Russian rock band Lyube in 1992 released the anti-American propaganda music video "Don't Play the Fool America!" which was about glamorizing the return of Alaska back to Russian control citing its close proximity to Siberia and if a message could be made out of that animated segment with Uncle Sam kissing a woman who's smoking before being thrown socks and screaming in fear of it, it could be implying that Americans are sedentary for staying indoors all the time while Russians are physically active and often dance.

    Video Games 
  • Background lore for Elite: Dangerous has The Federation as a descendant government of the modern United States.
  • Front Mission depicts both North and South America merged into one nation called the United States of the New Continent (USN).
  • Section 8 had the United States become a repressive interstellar empire, somehow forgetting the ideals it was founded on along the way.
  • Destroy All Humans! has Crypto, a grey alien with genocidal intents for the human race, as its main protagonist who starts fighting for American hegemony (since he decided to eventually become President of the United States and boss the military into rounding up humans for extermination). The sequel has him waging war upon the Soviet Union ( or rather, the rival alien race who created it).
  • Mass Effect: it is explained in the backstory that the United States annexed the rest of North America, and that they're still a superpower, though the Chinese People's Federation and the European Union are also mentioned to be extant. This is hinted at in-game by the fact that Americans are disproportionately represented among the ranks of the Systems Alliance, humanity's space force. The head of humanity's Space Navy, Steven Hackett, has a thick American accent and a typical Anglo name. Ditto both of humanity's known Councilors, David Andersonnote  and Anna Goyle.
  • Crysis has the entire world being controlled by an American Mega-Corp by the time of the third game, due to the Americans being the ones to capture the Alpha Ceph after its defeat in New York, and said Mega-Corp being closely tied to several prominent politicians.
  • Fallout's pre-War backstory has Europe and the USSR being rendered weak clients of the U.S. in the lead up to a global energy crisis that sees everyone but the U.S. and China effectively collapsing. This is followed by the U.S. annexing Canada and occupying Mexico, China occupying several Asian countries and the Russian Far East, and eventually a Sino-American War. Due to a combination of superior technology (e.g. Powered Armor) and greater economic strength,note  the war culminates in the U.S. successfully invading mainland China in retribution for their invasion of Alaska and laying siege to Beijing, effectively leaving America as the sole hyperpower. For about a day.
  • This is the highest objective that can be accomplished by the Americans in Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots in three different campaign modes. Lesser victories such as simply becoming the dominant power on the planet are also possible.
    • World mode is an anachronistic free-for-all between almost all historic great powers, set from the beginning of history up to the future - you can also play as the Americans.
    • America takes a bigger role in New World mode, your goal being to break free from British rule, conquer all of North America at least, drive out every last European power from both American continents, and attain a specific amount of tribute.
    • In Cold War mode the Americans are one of two playable factions, the other being the Soviets. As the Americans you ultimately need to conquer the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union and subjugate the rest of the world as your client states (the latter is implied by the former). You can do this by money (one victory condition is having an industrial output lead over the other bloc by more than 50 - this can be done either by building up the US and its allies or initiating "police actions" on nonaligned countries), conventional force (ground invasion of the Soviets or its allies), or nuclear exchange (only possible if you have enough nukes to irradiate all Soviet territories but the reverse is not true).
  • In the Metal Gear series it is established that there was an international conspiracy during the time of the First World War where America, China, and Russia made a secret pact where all 3 of them would work together to make a better world. After World War II the Cold War splintered the group, but eventually the American faction took over all of the group's power and renamed themselves the Patriots. The Patriots as we see them by the time of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4 have consolidated economic, cultural, and technological dominance over most of the world and are taking the final step in world domination by creating a computer system that will monitor every single citizen on Earth that has nano-machines in their bodies and can control all information that flows through the Internet. Fortunately this conspiracy is finally put to an end by the end of the series.
  • In the Civilization series, it is possible for the United States to conquer the world. Civilization V promotes this by making the American special ability (Manifest Destiny) having tiles cost 50% less, effectively letting it swallow up twice as much territories as other empires. The other American civilization, the Shoshone, get a similar play on expansion - their cities are created with twice as much territory as any other civilization.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, this is implied by the U.S. Vice President in the Allied ending.

    Web Comics 
  • It's not stated how many other countries they might have taken over, but America apparently annexed Canada at some point in the past of A Miracle of Science.
  • One of the villains from Princess Pi, an American dictator named, "Princess Ip", works to make this a reality.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama varies between the presence and absence of this trope depending on the needs of the joke, but it most commonly presents Earth as a single political entity, ruled from Washington according to the American political model, whose citizens are known as "Earthicans." Earth's flag is just the modern American flag with the stars replaced by a globe centred on America. Also, in one episode, Richard Nixon was initially unable to run for president of Earth due to already serving two terms, indicating continuity between the modern US government of the 1970s and the Earth government of 3000.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, while at a beach in Rio, the lifeguard was able to tell that Homer was an American because he wore a shirt where Uncle Sam was consuming the world with the lines "try and stop us" on it.
    • In one of those "future" episodes, there'll be a 51th state named "Saudita Israeli".
  • In the future of Meet the Robinsons Canada is referred to briefly as North Montana.

    Real Life 
  • Perhaps the most dramatic time the USA explicitly took possession of land besides the contiguous United States by force was in the Spanish American War, and seized territory generally either given back to its occupants or agreements were signed to do so—however some territories, such as Guam, remained in US possession. The USA's preferred method was to make economic partners of defeated nations and leave a few military bases behind, but restore political and military independence. It invaded the Philippines, recently liberated from the Spanish by the war, and occupied it by force against a resistance army. It also took American Samoa following a conflict with the islands' previous imperial overlord, Germany—this involved partitioning American Samoa from the rest of Samoa.
    • Four years before the Spanish-American War, the United States surpassed the United Kingdom in GDP to become the world's largest economy, terrifying the British industrial complex.
  • Zig-zagged in the case of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Due to immigration from the United States and elsewhere, there were more non-Hawaiians than Hawaiians on Hawaii, and they didn't like the native monarchy's rule, instead preferring democratic rule. Many of them wanted the US to annex Hawaii, but the US was reluctant to do so, seeing it as an obvious imperialist land grab. The immigrants forced the issue by rebelling against the Hawaiian government and convincing the local US government minister, John Stevens, to help them by sending in some marines to "protect American interests". This resulted in the abolition of the Kingdom of Hawaii, replacing it with the temporary "Republic of Hawaii", which immediately petitioned the US government for permission to join the United States. However, the federal US government was not impressed by the rebellion, and in particular, Stevens effectively invading a foreign country without permission. Stevens was recalled from his position and forced to retire and the Republic of Hawaii was forced to wait for five years before it was finally annexed.
  • During the run-up to The American Civil War, both sides were looking to expand their territory, since each new state boosted the faction's power in Congress.
    • For the North, this meant grabbing as much of British North America (now Canada) as possible, with the most widespread call being for the complete annexation of the Oregon Country up to the border with (then-Russian) Alaska; the slogan was "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!", referring to the 54°40′ North line of latitude where the Oregon Country ended. From there, it was hoped, the North-West Territory and Rupert's Land, now cut off from the Pacific, would also become American. (Ultimately, the US only got the areas south of the 49th parallel minus Vancouver Island; the rest became the province of British Columbia.) Even a few years after the Civil War, the US' purchase of Alaska was at least partly motivated by the dream of adding the vast expanse of western Canada to the Union by establishing a US outpost on that country's western frontier.
    • Meanwhile, Southern politicians and businessmen felt that, since the Missouri Compromise of 1820 only explicitly prohibited slavery in US territories north of 36°30' North, it was implicitly permitted anywhere south of that line — including in any new American territories. As such, many efforts were launched to annex or conquer Cuba, Mexico, and other nations in Central America and the Caribbean. The Mexican-American War was fought for this purpose, President James K. Polk authorized spending up to $100 million to buy Cuba in 1848, Confederate President Jefferson Davis spoke of "new acquisitions to be made south of the Rio Grande", and Confederate Naval officers were dispatched as far as the Amazon delta in Brazil to survey the area, supposedly to map shipping routes but also taking notes on local militias and separatist movements. A relatively small group of mostly Southern American mercenaries actually conquered Nicaragua in 1857, and intended to turn the Central American states into slave states; they quickly proved unable to achieve this goal due to lacking any state support and were driven out by the neighboring states.
  • The "Pax Americana" that started after World War II is the closest realization of this trope that Real Life has yet seen. With the British and French empires bankrupted by war (and were already being rapidly outpaced by the Americans in the early 20th century), the German, Italian, and Japanese empires destroyed entirely, and the USSR and China, the only other great powers that could still stand on their own, retrenching into their own spheres of influence while adopting very inefficient economic models, the USA, untouched by war and possessing the world's largest industrial capacity by several orders of magnitude, emerged dominant over nearly every corner of the globe save for the core of Eurasia. Like the Soviet Union however, America's empire was largely indirect, given that the nation was officially anti-imperialist and exploited this tendency to appeal to the post-colonial world. With post-war Western Europe reliant on American aid, and therefore subservient to Washington, the USA could pressure its allies into abandoning its traditional empires in the third world, letting the Americans set up loyal puppet states either covertly or overtly. While they were not ruled by Washington directly, these puppet states were useful in warding off Soviet influence and securing American cultural and economic hegemony. This unofficial empire of loyal and puppet states managed to span roughly half the world. American power reached its peak in The '90s after The Great Politics Mess-Up, with the term "hyperpower" used to describe a nation that everybody, from its allies to its enemies, had to heed. Some people, including US President George H. W. Bush, described American power after the fall of communism as so great that it verged on a One World Order — and of course, some conspiracy theorists believe it goes well beyond "verged on". The rise of China after their market and trade reforms and the resurgence of Russia since then have chipped away at this somewhat, with China having overtaken the US as the world's largest manufacturer and developing an economy somewhat in the same league (2/3 the size of the U.S. one), combined with Russia at least regaining enough strength to exert influence within its immediate vicinity.

    Even in spite of all this, however, America still remains the world's preeminent military, economic, and cultural force, accounting for 25% of world GDP and 40% of world military spending on their own. The US' allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Organization of American States, as well as major non-NATO allies like Japan, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, comprise the lion's share of world power; if they were collectively viewed as an American empire (as critics of American foreign policy often proclaim it to be), then the United States would currently be in possession of the greatest empire that history has ever known, with 60%+ of world GDP and the vast majority of the world's intellectual capital and industrial capacity (to wit, South Korea alone has a larger economy than Russia). The US dollar is the world's reserve currency, with only the euro as a serious competitor (and even then, it is a distant second). Its military can deploy hundreds of thousands of soldiers supported by carrier-borne aircraft to any corner of the globe on short notice and doesn't even need a single American soldier on the ground to destroy minor powers, as interventions in Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Libya have demonstrated. Its economy still prospers even as most other developed countries stagnate and rapidly growing middle income economies (like China) begin to slow. American food, films, TV series, fashion and pop music can be found on every continent, and its celebrities are renowned throughout the world, to the point where both supporters and critics of the US have cited its 'soft power' (or, alternatively, 'cultural imperialism') as one of its greatest tools and weapons in maintaining its alliances. The only nations that are openly antagonistic to the US (as opposed to frenemies like Russia and China) are mostly so-called "rogue states" with few friends of any kind in the world, like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Libya (before The Arab Spring).


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