Cover image for The new world power : American foreign policy, 1898-1917
The new world power : American foreign policy, 1898-1917
Hannigan, Robert E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 365 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
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Call Number
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E744 .H353 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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From the era of the Spanish American war onward, the United States found itself increasingly involved in the affairs of countries beyond North America. The New World Power offers an interpretive framework for understanding U.S. foreign policy during the first two decades of America's emergence as a world power. Robert E. Hannigan describes the aspirations of American leaders, explores the bedrock social views and ideological framework they held in common, and shows how the approach of U.S. policymakers overseas mirrored their attitudes toward domestic progressivism. While the vast bulk of work on U.S. foreign policy has been concerned with the period from World War II to the present, this comprehensive examination of American policy at the turn of the twentieth century is of vital importance to the comprehension of subsequent events.

Hannigan relates U.S. foreign policy to domestic society in ways that are new; in particular, he examines how issues of class, race, and gender were combined in the ideology held by policy makers and how this shaped their approaches to foreign affairs. His study reveals a fundamental unity to U.S. activity throughout the period, not only toward the Caribbean and China, regions that have been the traditional focus of historians, but toward the rest of North and South America as well. It also relates these regional activities to American policy toward the British Empire, European great power rivalries, and international institutions, arbitration, and law, culminating in a reinterpretation of U.S. involvement in World War I.

Based on exhaustive research in the writings of presidents, secretaries of state, and key diplomats and advisers, The New World Power draws parallels between the methods by which policy makers sought to shape international society and the methods by which many of them hoped to secure the conditions they wanted within the United States. Most important, the book describes how an international search for order constituted the fundamental strategy by which American leaders sought to ensure for the United States a position of what they saw as wealth and greatness in the coming twentieth-century world.

Author Notes

Robert E. Hannigan teaches history of American foreign policy at Suffolk University. He also teaches at Bentley College.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In his thorough and readable account of US foreign policy from the Spanish-American War to US entry into WW I, Hannigan (Suffolk Univ.) stresses underlying themes of formal and informal domination of hemispheric peoples as well as efforts to gain commercial ascendancy and international leadership. Though this general interpretation was first popularized back in the 1960s by the Wisconsin school of history, it has seldom been put forth in so sophisticated and comprehensive a fashion. Hannigan begins with concepts of race and evolution, then moves to the geographical areas of the Caribbean (with focus on the Panama Canal), South America, China, Canada, and Mexico. The final chapters make an especially strong contribution, as they seek to show how US schemes of arbitration, mediation, and international organization were in reality efforts to stabilize a global framework that would guarantee US wealth and power. If this book at times attributes more conscious design to US policy makers than might have been the case, it is still an extremely rich work. Sources are almost exhaustive, and include manuscripts of US presidents and diplomatic officials, doctoral theses, and scholarly books and articles. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/collections. J. D. Doenecke New College of Florida

Table of Contents

1 Ideology and Interest
2 The "Center of Gravity": Caribbean Policy and the Canal
3 Dominance Throughout the Hemisphere: South America
4 "Where the Far West Becomes the Far East": China
5 The Home Continent: Canada and Mexico
6 World Order (to 1914)
7 World Order (1914-17)
List of Abbreviations