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Pax Americana (Latin for "American Peace", modeled after Pax Britannica, Pax Mongolica, and Pax Romana) is a term applied to the concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the world as a result of the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning around the middle of the 20th century and continuing to this day. Although the term finds its primary utility in the latter half of the 20th century, it has been used with different meanings and eras, such as the post-Civil War era in North America, and regionally in the Americas at the start of the 20th century.
Pax Americana is primarily used in its modern connotations to refer to the peace among great powers established after the end of World War II in 1945, also called the Long Peace. In this modern sense, it has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations. For example, the Marshall Plan, which spent $13 billion to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, has been seen as "the launching of the pax americana."
The Latin term derives from Pax Romana of the Roman Empire. The term is most notably associated with Pax Britannica under the British Empire, which served as the global hegemon and constabulary from the late 18th century until the early 20th century.
The first articulation of a Pax Americana occurred after the end of the American Civil War with reference to the peaceful nature of the North American geographical region, and was abeyant at the commencement of the First World War. Its emergence was concurrent with the development of the idea of American exceptionalism. This view holds that the U.S. occupies a special niche among developed nations in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, political and religious institutions, and unique origins. The concept originates from , who asserted that the then-50-year-old United States held a special place among nations because it was a country of immigrants and the first modern democracy. From the establishment of the United States after the American Revolution until the Spanish–American War, the foreign policy of the United States had a regional, instead of global, focus. The Pax Americana, which the Union enforced upon the states of central North America, was a factor in the United States' national prosperity. The larger states were surrounded by smaller states, but these had no anxieties: no standing armies to require taxes and hinder labor; no wars or rumors of wars that would interrupt trade; there is not only peace, but security, for the Pax Americana of the Union covered all the states within the federal constitutional republic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first time the phrase appeared in print was in the August 1894 issue of Forum: "The true cause for exultation is the universal outburst of patriotism in support of the prompt and courageous action of President Cleveland in maintaining the supremacy of law throughout the length and breadth of the land, in establishing the pax Americana."
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