USA described as federator of Europe?


         "We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living." Winston Churchill's address at the university of Zurich highlights not only the importance but the absolute necessity to form a United States of Europe (U.S.E). Historians have been debating the factors leading to the federation of Europe and who or what events were the main influences and causes for the formation of the U.S.E. Victor Hugo is one of many who has a firm belief that the future of a federated Europe would come due to the progress made, through the actions of the United States of America (USA), whereas other advocates such as Italian Giuseppe Mazzini discusses it was a logical explanation to federate so peace, justice, liberty and economic prosperity could prosper. USA can be described as a 'federator of Europe', however there were many other significant factors which helped establish the federation of Europe.

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         The future is influenced by the past as much as the present. George Washington wrote a letter to the Marquis de La Fayette over two hundred years ago, predicting the formation of the U.S.E, stating that "One day, on the model of the United States of America, a United States of Europe will come into being." The US is the world's oldest surviving federation. The 'Declaration of Independence' in 1776 and the recognition at the 'Treaty of Paris' in 1783, prepared the path for what the U.S.E is based upon. Victor Hugo shared the same thought as Washington, and shared his views during the 'International Peace Conference' held in Pairs 1849.

"A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood... A day will come when we shall see... the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas."

These so far are just predictions, hypothesises of what Europe would be like in the future, however the next source acts out these predictions, reinstating the argument of the USA being described as a 'federator of Europe'. A speech from Guy Verhofstadt, mentions explicitly that due to American federation, it's influence had great effect on the founder of the European Union, Jean Monnet. He says "Monnet visited the United States before launching his European project." and importantly states that

"In challenging times the United States of America has opted in favour of closer cooperation. Having done so, not only did it survive, but it flourished as never before. In today's global world, all Europe has to do is follow the same path and strive to establish a 'United States of Europe'."

Mark Leonard alludes to an important point that USA had an impact through initial justifications of establishing an alliance with Europe, as they did with the states in America. This is backed up by Verhofstadt, who discusses the similarities between the two continents,

"... a similar debate and discussion to the one currently going on in Europe took place in North America in the late eighteenth century, when America's constituent states joined together to form a federal state, the United States... "

Late 18th century started the American expansion period. Leonard talks about the actions leading to the rapid expansion to the west, north and south. This 'action' was the foundation of the Civil War where the Union was victorious and federated the nation. Due to these facts, a view can be extracted that the USA had a noticeable effect over the formation of the U.S.E through both actions and influences and thus it can be described as a 'federator of Europe'.

         Due to the world wars, in particular one of late, tensions of nations have risen and the awareness of unity have increased significantly. The European Coal and Steel Community, established in 1951 during the 'Treaty of Paris', starting to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace and economic growth. Napoleon I, the Emperor of the French, had a vision of a unified Europe while in exile on Saint Helena, that "Europe thus divided into nationalities freely formed and free internally, peace between States would have become easier: the United States of Europe would become a possibility." Giuseppe Mazzini brings a 19th century view, one of logic and necessity. He declares that if all European nations were to benefit together economically and politically they would all have to embrace federation. This was a passionate matter for Mazzini as he was instrumental in the unification of Italy which was similar, yet on a smaller scale of European federation. Through the horrors of the wars, national leaders, Politian's and civilians saw it was not possible to continue their lifestyle. Political, economic and peace objectives helped shape a union body to maintain and stabilise life in Europe, an instrumental factor to be considered.

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         Alliances are pivotal in having growth, security and control over others. The factor of creating a powerful alliance in Europe to compete with the rise of the Eastern power of China and the strength of USA is a significant point to consider for the federation of Europe, one of which USA had little to do with. As Thorsten V. Kalijarvj discusses in his article, "... separated from its eastern portion and faced with the communist menace, Western Europe had the choice of co-operation or going under. Co-operation was chosen," illustrating the need for Europe as a whole to overcome the issues such as the language barriers, nationalism, cultural differences, economic competition and history in order to gain solidarity. Kalijarvi's view highlights again that there was more than just the USA's intervention and action leading to a strong influence which helped shape and federate the U.S.E.

         Can USA be described as a 'federator of Europe'? Yes. The USA are clearly shown throughout history to have been a considerable influence on Europe, creating a successful political and economic system for the European nations to simulate, as well as creating a long term goal of peace within their nation. Through the research it is obvious that as the USA had a hand in the federation of Europe through their own actions, yet there were many other factors of important significance which could be described as federators of Europe as well. Although this does not take way the emphasis on USA as a 'federator', but helps understand the federation of Europe on a higher level. This is exemplified through the various historians and authors whose views and predictions have challenged and provoked thought on this topic.


  • Glenn, David. Making the Case for a United States of Europe The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2005
  • Leonard, Mark. Europe: the new superpower Published in the Irish Times: 18 February 2005
  • Markham, Felix. Napoleon. New York: Penguin Books, 1966
  • Ramos-Mrosovsky, Carlos A Fake Country The European Union is held together by nothing more than anti-Americanism. December 20, 2004 "Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky, a former NR intern, is a student at Harvard Law School and a graduate of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs"
  • Thorsten V. Kalijarvi. Obstacles to European Unification Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 348, The New Europe: Implications for the United States (Jul., 1963), pp. 46-53 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of Political and Social Science Stable URL:
  • Verhofstadt, Guy Speech by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. Press release of 18 January 2006, speech was held 17th January 2006 at the CSIS in Washington
  • Washington, George George Washington: A Collection, compiled and edited by W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988).
  • European Navigator, The authoritative multimedia reference on the history of Europe


  1. European Navigator. Raquel Valls. Translated by the CVCE.
  2. Traité de Paris. Jean Jungmann. Paris: Photo Parlement européen, 1951. Black and White.
  3. Winston Churchill, speech delivered at the University of Zurich, 19 September 1946. [ON-LINE]. [Strasbourg]: Council of Europe - Conseil de l'Europe, mise à jour 21.11.2005[21.11.2005]. Available on