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Protectionist Empire: Trade, Tariffs, and United States Foreign Policy, 1890–1914

  • Benjamin O. Fordham (a1)

Abstract

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.

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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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1. Brooks, Sydney, “American Imperialism,” Fortnightly Review 70, no. 416 (August 1901): 237–38.

2. Lenz, Lawrence, Power and Policy: America's First Steps to Superpower (New York: Algora, 2008); Zimmermann, Warren, First Great Triumph (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002).

3. Williams, William Appleman, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, 50th anniversary ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2009), 45 .

4. For example, Hunt, Michael H., Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988); Kagan, Robert, Dangerous Nation (New York: Knopf, 2006); Rosenberg, Emily S., Spreading the American Dream (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982).

5. For example, Kramer, Paul A., The Blood of Government (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); McCoy, Alfred W., Policing America's Empire (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009); Miller, Stuart Creighton, “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899–1903 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982).

6. See, for example, Carpenter, Daniel P., The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Skocpol, Theda, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992); Skowronek, Stephen, Building a New American State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982). These works make different arguments about the sources of growing state capacity, but they agree that it increased during this period. Bensel, Richard Franklin, Yankee Leviathan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990) locates the emergence of the modern American state somewhat earlier, during the Civil War and Reconstruction period.

7. Skowronek, Building a New American State, 23.

8. Carpenter, in The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy, 12, suggests that the emergence of bureaucratic autonomy in diplomatic and military affairs is different, and perhaps less surprising, than its emergence on domestic issues for this reason.

9. Zakaria, Fareed, From Wealth to Power (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998).

10. Ikenberry, G. John, Liberal Leviathan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011); Pollard, Robert A., Economic Security and the Origins of the Cold War, 1945–1950 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).

11. Fordham, Benjamin O., “Economic Interests and Congressional Voting on American Foreign Policy,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 52, no. 5 (October 2008): 623–40; Fordham, Benjamin O., “Economic Interests and Public Support for American Global Activism,” International Organization 62, no. 1 (January 2008): 163–82; Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin H., “The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Aid: American Legislators and the Domestic Politics of Aid,” Economics & Politics 22, no. 2 (July 2010): 200–32.

12. While Sydney Brooks's analysis was published in a British journal, Fortnightly Review, the editors of Literary Digest found it important enough to summarize it for American readers Literary Digest “American Imperialism as Viewed Abroad,” Literary Digest, September 14, 1901.

13. On the diplomatic service, see Mattox, Henry E., The Twilight of Amateur Diplomacy (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1989); concerning problems with the consular service and efforts to reform it, see Becker, William H., The Dynamics of Business-Government Relations: Industry & Exports, 1893–1921 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 91112 .

14. Moore, Colin D., in “State Building Through Partnership: Delegation, Public-Private Partnerships, and the Political Development of American Imperialism, 1898–1916,” Studies in American Political Development 25, no. 1 (April 2011): 2755 , notes that the executive branch was able to overcome the lack of anything resembling a foreign aid program in some instances through collaboration with private banks, though this solution proved an unsatisfactory substitute for colonial control in the end.

15. On the postwar growth of the national security state, see Hogan, Michael J., A Cross of Iron (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Friedberg, Aaron L., In the Shadow of the Garrison State, Princeton Studies in International History and Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).

16. For example, Kindleberger, Charles P., The World in Depression, 1929–1939, rev. and enl. ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986); Tooze, J. Adam, The Deluge: The Great War and The Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931 (New York: Viking, 2014).

17. Lake, David A., “International Economic Structures and American Foreign Economic Policy, 1887–1934,” World Politics 35, no. 4 (July 1983): 517–43; Lake, David A, Power, Protection, and Free Trade (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988); Legro, Jeffrey W., “Whence American Internationalism,” International Organization 54, no. 2 (April 2000): 253–89; Legro, Jeffrey, Rethinking the World (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005); Stein, Arthur A, “Domestic Constraints, Extended Deterrence, and the Incoherence of Grand Strategy: The United States, 1938–1950,” in The Domestic Bases of Grand Strategy, ed. Stein, Arthur A. and Rosecrance, Richard N. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 96123 ; Zakaria, From Wealth to Power.

18. West, Rachel, The Department of State on the Eve of the First World War (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1978), 78 .

19. Reid, Whitelaw, Problems of Expansion, as Considered in Papers and Addresses (New York: Century, 1900), 192 .

20. See, for example, Young, John P., “Will Chinese Development Benefit the Western World?Forum 28, no. 3 (November 1899): 348–62. Young argued that the Chinese lacked both the wealth and the desire to purchase Western manufactured goods.

21. Kennan, George F., American Diplomacy, expanded ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 6 .

22. Particularly comprehensive summaries can be found in LaFeber, Walter, The New Empire (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1963), esp. 150–96; McCormick, Thomas J., China Market (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1967), esp. 2152 .

23. Becker, The Dynamics of Business-Government Relations.

24. Mahan, Alfred Thayer, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783 (New York: Dover Publications, 1987), 25–28, 8388 .

25. Adams, Brooks, America's Economic Supremacy (New York: Macmillan, 1900), 4043 .

26. Becker, The Dynamics of Business-Government Relations, 91–112 explains some of the difficulties with American trade promotion efforts. See also the satirical comments of Eddy, Ulysses D., “My Business Partner, the Government,” Forum 13, no. 3 (May 1892): 379–88.

27. Coatsworth, John H. and Williamson, Jeffrey G., “Always Protectionist? Latin American Tariffs from Independence to Great Depression,” Journal of Latin American Studies 36, no. 2 (May 2004): 205–32; Findlay, Ronald and O'Rourke, Kevin H., Power and Plenty (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 395–96.

28. Gallagher, John and Robinson, Ronald, “The Imperialism of Free Trade,” Economic History Review, New Series, 6, no. 1 (January 1953): 115 .

29. There are many explicit references to Gallagher and Robinson's concept. See, for example, McCormick, China Market, 63; Topik, Steven, Trade and Gunboats (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), 4 ; Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, 96. “The imperialism of free trade” was a provocative phrase in 1953 because imperialism was then generally associated with protectionism. That the phrase no longer appears ironic suggests how much our understanding of “imperialism” has changed.

30. Goldstein, Judith, Ideas, Interests, and American Trade Policy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 1920 ; Bailey, Michael A., Goldstein, Judith, and Weingast, Barry R., “The Institutional Roots of American Trade Policy: Politics, Coalitions, and International Trade,” World Politics 49, no. 3 (April 1997): 611 ; Bensel, Richard Franklin, The Political Economy of American Industrialization, 1877–1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 457509 ; Irwin, Douglas A. and Kroszner, Randall S., “Interests, Institutions, and Ideology in Securing Policy Change: The Republican Conversion to Trade Liberalization after Smoot-Hawley,” Journal of Law and Economics 42, no. 2 (October 1999): 643–74; Epstein, David and O'Halloran, Sharyn, “The Partisan Paradox and the U.S. Tariff, 1877–1934,” International Organization 50, no. 2 (April 1996): 301–24; Taussig, F. W, The Tariff History of the United States, 5th ed. (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1910), 216–19.

31. Bensel, Political Economy of American Industrialization, 457–509.

32. Selbie, William, “Our Coming Rival,” North American Review 157, no. 441 (1893): 254 .

33. See, for example, “America and Protection,” Literary Digest, November 29, 1890; “The McKinley Bill,” Literary Digest, December 6, 1890; “Protectionism in the United States,” Literary Digest, July 18, 1891; “The Ruin of the American Farmer,” Literary Digest, December 3, 1892; “The American Tariff--Past and Future,” Literary Digest, December 24, 1892.

34. United States Census Bureau, “1900 Census of Population and Housing,” 1900 Census of Population and Housing, 1901, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/decade/decennial-publications/1900.html The states included in this group are Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

35. Ford, Worthington C., “Commercial Superiority of the United States,” North American Review 166, no. 494 (January 1, 1898): 7584 .

36. Flint, Charles R., “Our Export Trade,” Forum 23, no. 3 (May 1897): 290–97.

37. Vest, George G., “The Real Issue,” North American Review 155, no. 431 (October 1892): 402403 .

38. For example, Mills, Roger Q., “The Gladstone-Blaine Controversy,” North American Review 150, no. 399 (February 1890): 145–76; Herbert, Hilary A., “Reciprocity and the Farmer,” North American Review 154, no. 425 (April 1892): 414–23; Wilson, William L., “The Republican Policy of Reciprocity,” Forum 14, no. 2 (October 1892): 255–64.

39. Mills, Roger Q., “The Wilson Bill,” North American Review 158, no. 447 (February 1894): 237 .

40. Bensel, Political Economy of American Industrialization, 471.

41. These states also had 214 electoral votes in the 1892 and 1896 elections, when the total needed for victory was 223 and 224, respectively. The comparable numbers for the other elections were 229 of 239 votes needed in 1904, 229 of 242 in 1908, and 249 of 266 in 1912 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, “U.S. Electoral College,” https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/votes/votes_by_state.html).

42. LaFeber, New Empire, 374–76.

43. Ibid., 328–31; LaFeber, Walter, The American Search for Opportunity, 1865–1913, vol. 2, Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 7479 similarly stresses the reciprocity provisions of the McKinley and Dingley tariffs. LaFeber similarly downplays the related debates over colonies after 1898, terming these a disagreement over “tactical means” to achieve the universally shared goal of overseas markets (416); Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, 49, takes the same position, arguing that debates over imperialism was a “tactical disagreement” among policymakers committed to greater market access.

44. Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, 35.

45. McCormick, China Market, 42.

46. Ibid., 46.

47. Terrill, Tom E., The Tariff, Politics, and American Foreign Policy, 1874–1901 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973), 184 .

48. Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream, 7.

49. Ibid., 54. American efforts to gained privileged access to Latin American markets while calling for nondiscrimination in East Asia present a similar contradiction.

50. Ibid., 10.

51. Ibid., 51.

52. Rosenberg, Emily S, Financial Missionaries to the World: The Politics and Culture of Dollar Diplomacy, 1900–1930 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003). The index has no entry for tariff, protectionism, or trade.

53. Becker, William H., “American Manufacturers and Foreign Markets, 1870–1900: Business Historians and the ‘New Economic Determinists,’Business History Review 47, no. 4 (December 1973): 468 ; Becker is not alone in his concern about the Wisconsin School's generalizations. Field, James A., “American Imperialism: The Worst Chapter in Almost Any Book,” American Historical Review 83, no. 3 (June 1978): 645–46, argues that their interpretation is “too rational” in the neat causal process it suggests and “too unitary” in its account of what the American public wanted.

54. Becker, The Dynamics of Business-Government Relations, 69–90.

55. Veeser, Cyrus, A World Safe for Capitalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 3134 .

56. Topik, Trade and Gunboats.

57. Trubowitz, Peter, Defining the National Interest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 3195 . While Trubowitz treats tariffs much as historians have done, his interpretation diverges from them in other respects. He rightly points out that reciprocity did not work the same way in the 1890s as it has since World War II (p. 77). He also provides a more robust account of regional differences over the value of European and Asian markets, though he links these to exports rather than trade protection (pp. 52–75).

58. Narizny, Kevin, The Political Economy of Grand Strategy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007), 3951 .

59. See, for example, Hoganson, Kristin L., Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998); Hunt, Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy; Ninkovich, Frank A, The United States and Imperialism, Problems in American History (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001).

60. Narizny, The Political Economy of Grand Strategy, 48; Trubowitz, Defining the National Interest, 65.

61. Computed from data in U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Statistics, The Foreign Commerce and Navigation of the United States for the Year Ending June 30, 1900, 2 vols. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1900).

62. Mills, “The Gladstone-Blaine Controversy,” 163. Many others made much the same point during other tariff debates. For example, Procter, John R., “America's Battle for Commercial Supremacy,” Forum 16, no. 3 (November 1893): 315–24, predicted the more liberal tariff under consideration in 1893 would permit the United States to surpass Britain as the leading commercial power. Healy, A. Augustus, “Necessity for Immediate Tariff Reduction,” Forum 16, no. 4 (December 1893): 407408 , took the same view, noting that “foreign nations need more of our products and would be glad to buy them, but they cannot buy if we will not allow the products they have to send us in payment to our ports.” See also Medley, George W., “A New Era for the United States,” Forum 15, no. 1 (March 1893): 2430 .

63. McKinley, William, “The Value of Protection,” North American Review 150, no. 403 (June 1890): 747 .

64. Terrill, The Tariff, Politics, and American Foreign Policy, 1874–1901. Terrill's is one of the few accounts of American foreign policy to explore the role of the tariff as well as the search for overseas markets.

65. For contemporary discussions of dumping, see Litman, Simon, “Tariff Revision and Foreign Markets,” American Economic Association Quarterly, 3rd series, 10, no. 1 (April 1909): 314–15; and Clark, John Bates, “Inexpensive Reciprocity,” Forum 38, no. 3 (January 1907): 413–23. The term is currently used for sales below the cost of production. Early twentieth century commentators appear to have used the term sales abroad below the home market price.

66. de Molinari, Gustave, “The McKinley Bill in Europe,” North American Review 151, no. 406 (1890): 307–18.

67. “The McKinley Bill in Europe,” Literary Digest, September 20, 1890. For other summarizes of foreign reaction to American tariff policy, see “The American Tariff War,” Literary Digest, November 1, 1890; “French Comment on the Tariff Bill,” Literary Digest, November 8, 1890; “America and Protection”; “The McKinley Bill.”

68. Schoenhof, Jacob, “Exports and Wages,” Forum 24, no. 5 (January 1898): 550 .

69. Gore, James Howard, “The Commercial Relations of the United States and Germany,” Forum 28, no. 4 (December 1899): 493502 .

70. “America and Joseph Chamberlain,” Literary Digest, October 17, 1903, 494.

71. Reid, Problems of Expansion, 41–42.

72. For example, Gladstone, W. E. and Blaine, James G., “A Duel. Free Trade: The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone. Protection: The Hon. James G. Blaine,” North American Review 150, no. 398 (January 1890): 154 .

73. Hannigan, Robert E., The New World Power (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), 5456 .

74. Laughlin, J. Laurence and Willis, H. Parker, Reciprocity (New York: Baker & Taylor, 1903), 185–86; Healy, David, US Expansionism (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970), 162–64.

75. See, for example, Herbert, “Reciprocity and the Farmer”; Mills, Roger Q., “Reciprocity—Why Southward Only?Forum 11, no. 3 (May 1891): 268–75; Vest, “The Real Issue.”

76. National Association of Manufacturers, Proceedings of the National Reciprocity Convention Held under the Auspices of the National Association of Manufacturers of the United States of America (Washington, DC: National Association of Manufacturers, 1901). For the position of agricultural implement manufacturers, see pages 14–20. Comments on the Republican Party platform can be found on pages 21 and 43, among others. Concerns about the precedent set by concessions affecting some members of the protectionist coalition can be found on page 64. The final resolution on reciprocity can be found on page 145. The Literary Digest documented the extensive press coverage and editorial commentary on the convention “Net Results of the Reciprocity Convention,” Literary Digest, November 30, 1901. Laughlin and Willis, Reciprocity, 346–48, also emphasize the importance of appeals for solidarity among protectionists at the convention as a major reason for the failure of the McKinley administration's treaties.

77. Hoxie, R. F., “The American Colonial Policy and the Tariff,” Journal of Political Economy 11, no. 2 (March 1903): 208–9.

78. Gibson, E. J., “Reciprocity and Foreign Trade,” Forum 32, no. 4 (December 1901): 477 .

79. For example, Ulysses Eddy, whom McCormick, China Market, 42, cites as advocate of reciprocity treaties in the 1890s, also wrote a satire attacking the tariff and other government policies that interfered with trade. (Eddy, “My Business Partner, the Government.”) Many other Republicans were at least privately willing to consider lower tariffs. See Wolman, Paul, Most Favored Nation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).

80. Butler, William Mill, ed., Official Proceedings of the International Commercial Congress: A Conference of All Nations for the Extension of Commercial Intercourse (Philadelphia, PA: Press of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, 1899), 289–91.

81. Bailey, Michael A., “The Politics of the Difficult: Congress, Public Opinion, and Early Cold War Aid and Trade Policies,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 28, no. 2 (May 2003): 147–77.

82. For example, Keohane, Robert O., After Hegemony (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984); Kindleberger, World in Depression, 288–306; Krasner, Stephen D., “State Power and the Structure of International Trade,” World Politics 28, no. 3 (April 1, 1976): 317–47.

83. Useful discussions of conditional and unconditional MFN status include Jones, Chester Lloyd, “The American Interpretation of the ‘Most Favored Nation’ Clause,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 32 (1908): 119–29; Viner, Jacob, “The Most-Favored-Nation Clause in American Commercial Treaties,” Journal of Political Economy 32, no. 1 (February 1924): 101–29.

84. Jones, “The American Interpretation of the ‘Most Favored Nation’ Clause,” 123–24.

85. Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, 45.

86. For example, addressing the American Academy for the Advancement of Political and Social Science on U.S. policy toward China, major speakers assumed that partition was inevitable. ( Ford, Worthington C., “The Commercial Relations of the United States with the Far East,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 13, supplement (May 1899): 107–30; and Hill, Robert T., “The Commercial Relations of the United States with the Far East,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 13, supplement (May 1899): 131–42.) Some in the audience disputed this premise, but mainly to argue that the United States needed to act more aggressively to prevent it. The Boxer Rebellion increased speculation about partition and debate about whether the United States could (or should) prevent it. (“Shall America Join in the Partition of China?,” Literary Digest, September 1, 1900.)

87. Culbertson, William Smith, “The ‘Open Door’ and Colonial Policy,” American Economic Review 9, no. 1 (March 1919): 333–34.

88. Wolman, Most Favored Nation.

89. National Association of Manufacturers, Proceedings of the National Reciprocity Convention, 41.

90. Ibid., 37.

91. Taussig, Tariff History, 5th ed., 240.

92. Wolman, Most Favored Nation, 15.

93. Hoxie, “The American Colonial Policy and the Tariff,” 210–13; United States Senate, Correspondence Relating to Philippine Customs Tariff, 57th Congress, 1st Session, Document No. 171 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1902).

94. Speck, Mary, “Closed-Door Imperialism: The Politics of Cuban-U. S. Trade, 1902–1933,” Hispanic American Historical Review 85, no. 3 (August 2005): 449–83.

95. Hoxie, “The American Colonial Policy and the Tariff,” 217.

96. Lake, Power, Protection, and Free Trade, 131–6, 144–5; Taussig, F. W, The Tariff History of the United States, 8th ed. (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1931), 403405 .

97. Butler, Official Proceedings of the International Commercial Congress, 208.

98. Hannigan, New World Power, 65–66.

99. Plischke, Elmer, U.S. Department of State: A Reference History (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 206 .

100. United States Department of State, Foreign Trade and Treaty Relations (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1909), 6 .

101. Becker, The Dynamics of Business-Government Relations, 48–68.

102. Hannigan, New World Power, 33–34, 42–43.

103. Williams, Benjamin Harrison, Economic Foreign Policy of the United States (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1929), 330–31.

104. McDonald, Patrick J., The Invisible Hand of Peace (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 155–84.

105. Wells, David A., “Protection or Free Trade—Which?Arena, no. 25 (December 1891): 15 .

106. McCrackan, W. D., “Our Foreign Policy,” Arena, no. 44 (July 1893): 145 . McCrackan's article was summarized for a wider audience by Literary Digest (“Our Foreign Policy,” Literary Digest, July 15, 1893).

107. Reinsch, Paul Samuel, World Politics at the End of the Nineteenth Century (New York: Macmillan, 1900), 3839 . The same linkage between imperialism and protection can be found in Hobson, John Atkinson, Imperialism: A Study (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965. First published 1902.), 6470 . Some textbooks written during the interwar period also made this connection. See, for example, Moon, Parker Thomas, Imperialism and World Politics (New York: Macmillan, 1936), 3334 ; Williams, Economic Foreign Policy of the United States, 256–57.

108. Adams's “The New Struggle for Life among Nations” is a good example of his thinking. (Adams, America's Economic Supremacy, 26–53.) Writing about the past, Mahan's tone was less apocalyptic. Nevertheless, he also viewed military competition for control of trade as a constant feature of human affairs. Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History opens with the following observation about the benefits of seaborne commerce: “To secure one's own people a disproportionate share of such benefits, every effort was made to exclude others, either by the peaceful legislative methods of monopoly or prohibitory regulations, or when these failed, by direct violence” (Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1).

109. Conant, Charles A., “The Struggle for Commercial Empire,” Forum 27, no. 4 (June 1899): 427–40; Conant, Charles A., “The United States as a World Power, I. The Nature of the Economic and Political Problem,” Forum 29, no. 5 (July 1900): 608–22; Conant, Charles A., “The United States as a World Power, II. Her Advantages in the Struggle for Commercial Empire,” Forum 29, no. 6 (August 1900): 673–87.

110. Conant, “The United States as a World Power, I,” 608.

111. These terms come, respectively, from Ulysses D. Eddy, “Our Chance for Commercial Supremacy,” Forum, June 1891, 421; Blaine, James G., “The Presidential Election of 1892,” North American Review 155, no. 432 (November 1892): 522 ; Carter, Thomas H., “The Republican Outlook,” North American Review 158, no. 449 (April 1894): 431 .

112. Atkinson, Edward, “The Cost of an Anglo-American War,” Forum 21, no. 1 (March 1896): 84 .

113. Gray, George, “Two Years of American Diplomacy,” North American Review 160, no. 461 (April 1895): 424 .

114. Perhaps because they tended to take American security concerns less seriously, foreign observers had long viewed the Monroe Doctrine as an effort to gain commercial control of the Western Hemisphere. The London Economist remarked on American efforts to establish “the Monroe doctrine in commerce for the whole Western Hemisphere” in 1886 (“The Hide and Leather Industries,” The Economist, April 10, 1886, 6). The Literary Digest summarized the comments of an Austrian legislator along the same lines in 1892: “The American policy is that of a Great Power. Washington said to his countrymen: Take no part in European quarrels. Monroe came and said: No European state shall in the future found a new empire on this continent. Garfield and Blaine have gone a step beyond and said: The United States will extend its wings over the whole American continent, North and South, and will form a ‘Zollverein’ of the free countries of America.” (“The Commercial Policy of the World,” Literary Digest, April 16, 1892, 647.)

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.

116. Wheeler, Joseph and Grosvenor, Charles H., “Our Duty in the Venezuelan Crisis,” North American Review 161, no. 468 (November 1895): 628–33.

117. McDonald, The Invisible Hand of Peace, 168–71; Widenor, William C., Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 105–6.

118. Lodge, Henry Cabot, “England, Venezuela, and the Monroe Doctrine,” North American Review 160, no. 463 (June 1895): 658 .

119. Lodge, Henry Cabot, “Our Blundering Foreign Policy,” Forum 19, no. 1 (March 1895): 8, 12–3, 14, 15.

120. Atkinson, “The Cost of an Anglo-American War,” 74.

121. Ibid., 82.

122. Atkinson, Edward, “Jingoes and Silverites,” North American Review 161, no. 468 (November 1895): 558 .

123. There is little evidence that this assumption changed until well after the outbreak of World War I. American leaders initially regarded the war in Europe with rather detached concern. Unlike most American diplomats, the U.S. consul in Budapest decided that the crisis of July 1914 was at least important enough to write about to Washington. However, he sent his message by regular mail out to avoid the cost of a cable transmission. It arrived on July 27, the day before the war began (West, The Department of State on the Eve of the First World War, 1).

124. Kennan, American Diplomacy, 4–5.

125. Mahan, Alfred Thayer, The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future (Boston: Little, Brown, 1897), 7 .

126. Lodge, “England, Venezuela, and the Monroe Doctrine,” 651. Others writing on the Monroe Doctrine after the Venezuelan Crisis of 1895 took much the same position, arguing that it ruled out American intervention in Europe. See, for example, Jones, Robert Ellis, “Washington's Farewell Address and Its Applications,” Forum 28, no. 1 (September 1899): 1328 ; Chambers, Julius, “The Monroe Doctrine in the Balance,” Forum 46, no. 5 (November 1911): 525–35; Taylor, Hannis, “A Review of the Cuban Question in Its Economic, Political, and Diplomatic Aspects,” North American Review 165, no. 492 (November 1897): 610–35; and Moore, John Bassett, “The Monroe Doctrine,” Political Science Quarterly 11, no. 1 (March 1896): 129 .

127. Sherwood, Sidney, “An Alliance with England the Basis of a Rational Foreign Policy,” Forum 21, no. 1 (March 1896): 89100 .

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.)

129. Procter, John R., “Isolationism or Imperialism,” Forum 26, no. 1 (September 1898): 23 .

130. See, for example, Smith, Goldwin, “The Moral of the Cuban War,” Forum 26, no. 3 (November 1898): 292 ; Mahan, Alfred Thayer and Beresford, Charles, “Possibilities of an Anglo-American Reunion,” North American Review 159, no. 456 (November 1894): 565–67.

131. Irwin and Kroszner, “Interests, Institutions, and Ideology in Securing Policy Change.”

132. Kindleberger, World in Depression, 236; Carr, Edward Hallett, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919–1939 (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 234 .

133. Tooze, The Deluge, 334.

134. For example, Wolman, Most Favored Nation.

135. Frieden, Jeffry A., “Sectoral Conflict and Foreign Economic Policy, 1914–1940,” International Organization 42, no. 1 (January 1988): 5990 .

136. Kindleberger, World in Depression; Krasner, “State Power and the Structure of International Trade.”

137. Fordham, “Economic Interests and Congressional Voting on American Foreign Policy”; Fordham, “Economic Interests and Public Support for American Global Activism.”

138. See, for example, Ikenberry, G. John, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

139. For example, Klingberg, Frank L., “The Historical Alternation of Moods in American Foreign Policy,” World Politics 4, no. 2 (1952): 239–73; Pollins, Brian M. and Schweller, Randall L., “Linking the Levels: The Long Wave and Shifts in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1790–1993,” American Journal of Political Science 43, no. 2 (1999): 431–64.

140. Thompson, J. A., “William Appleman Williams and the ‘American Empire,’Journal of American Studies 7, no. 1 (April 1973): 102104 ; Field, “American Imperialism,” 645–46.

141. Field, “American Imperialism,” 645.

142. See, for example, Boot, Max, The Savage Wars of Peace (New York: Basic Books, 2003); Kagan, , Dangerous Nation; Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence (New York: Knopf, 2001).

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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