The document "Imperialism" consists of two passages taken from books written almost one hundred years ago. Although it is recognized that the language and style reflect the culture and usage of the day, it will be analyzed from a contemporary per-spective. There is really no other way to approach the work, because it is impossible to determine how much the rules of grammar and style have evolved during the past century, and how this might affect the analysis.
This approach may affect the assessment of clarity and content because of changes in colloquial expressions. For example, people simply don't say "well-nigh" anymore, when they mean "nearly" or "almost," although that term was recognized as having once been common (line 25). However, a consistent focal point was needed, and it seems most appropriate to consider how this passage would be judged today for its quality, content, style and clarity.
The overall meaning of the document is quite clear -- it clearly conveys the values, passions and ideologies of the writers. But the meanings of individual sentences and phrases are not so clear, and the flow of prose is awkward in places. Some of this can be attributed to the choice of words which are not commonly used today in the same context.
In the "Anglo-Saxon Mission," Josiah Strong wrote, "The other great idea of which the Anglo-Saxon is the exponent is that of pure spiritual Christianity." (lines 12-13) The meaning of the word "exponent" was not recognized in that context, and it brought to mind a definition taken from the field of mathematics. A look in the dictionary revealed that it also means "advocates," and that the use of the word was therefore correct.
The word "illimitable" in Alfred Mahan's passage, "just beyond the Philippines are China's illimitable markets," was even more troublesome (line 89). It was not recognized as a legitimate word and the first impression was that this was indeed an error. Aga...