Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 October 2017
Between 1890 and 1914, the United States acquired overseas colonies, built a battleship fleet, and intervened increasingly often in Latin America and East Asia. This activism is often seen as the precursor to the country's role as a superpower after 1945 but actually served very different goals. In contrast to its pursuit of a relatively liberal international economic order after 1945, the United States remained committed to trade protection before 1914. Protectionism had several important consequences for American foreign policy on both economic and security issues. It led to a focus on less developed areas of the world that would not export manufactured goods to the United States instead of on wealthier European markets. It limited the tactics available for promoting American exports, forcing policymakers to seek exclusive bilateral agreements or unilateral concessions from trading partners instead of multilateral arrangements. It inhibited political cooperation with other major powers and implied an aggressive posture toward these states. The differences between this foreign policy and the one the United States adopted after 1945 underscore the critical importance not just of the search for overseas markets but also of efforts to protect the domestic market.
Acknowledgments: I am grateful to the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress for providing me with an ideal place to conduct much of the research for this work. The National Science Foundation also supported this project through grant SES-1022546. I benefitted from comments and suggestions received during presentations at Cornell University, the Library of Congress, Arizona State University, George Washington University, and Mary Washington University, as well as to my colleagues in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University, who commented on earlier stages of this work. I am solely responsible for any remaining errors of fact or interpretation.
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115. On the details of the dispute see LaFeber, New Empire, 242–83; Hannigan, New World Power, 57–60; Healy, US Expansionism, 24–28; McDonald, The Invisible Hand of Peace, 157–62.
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128. Then as now, scholars like Sherwood could write what they liked, but questioning the Monroe Doctrine was dangerous for political leaders. For example, in 1906, Professor John W. Burgess gave a lecture in Germany arguing that both the Monroe Doctrine and the protective tariff were “almost obsolete.” Burgess was a professor at Columbia University where he had founded Political Science Quarterly, and was then acting as Theodore Roosevelt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Berlin. His statements were widely attacked by American editorialists who mistakenly interpreted them as official policy because of Burgess's title. The administration quickly distanced itself from these comments, which reportedly caused the President so much irritation that “it probably could not be expressed in polite language.” (“A ‘Roosevelt Professor's’ Repudiation of the Monroe Doctrine,” Literary Digest, November 10, 1906.)
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