From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role

From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role

by Fareed Zakaria
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691044961

ISBN-13: 9780691044965

Pub. Date: 03/02/1998

Publisher: Princeton University Press

If rich nations routinely become great powers, Zakaria asks, then how do we explain the strange inactivity of the United States in the late nineteenth century? By 1885, the U.S. was the richest country in the world. And yet, by all military, political, and diplomatic measures, it was a minor power. To explain this discrepancy, Zakaria considers a wide variety of cases…  See more details below

Overview

If rich nations routinely become great powers, Zakaria asks, then how do we explain the strange inactivity of the United States in the late nineteenth century? By 1885, the U.S. was the richest country in the world. And yet, by all military, political, and diplomatic measures, it was a minor power. To explain this discrepancy, Zakaria considers a wide variety of cases between 1865 and 1908 in which the U.S. considered expanding its influence in such diverse places as Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Iceland. Taking a position consistent with the realist theory of international relations, he argues that the President and his administration tried to increase the country's political influence abroad when they saw an increase in the nation's relative economic power. But they frequently had to curtail their plans for expansion, he shows, because they lacked a strong central government that could harness that economic power for the purposes of foreign policy. America was an unusual power - a strong nation with a weak state. It was not until late in the century, when power shifted from states to the federal government and from the legislative to the executive branch, that leaders in Washington could mobilize the nation's resources for international influence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691044965
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/02/1998
Series:
Princeton Studies in International History and Politics Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.55(h) x 0.85(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1Introduction: What Makes a Great Power?3
Ch. 2A Theory of Foreign Policy: Why Do States Expand?13
Ch. 3Imperial Understretch: Power and Nonexpansion, 1865-188944
Ch. 4The Rise of the American State, 1877-1896: The Foundation for a New Foreign Policy90
Ch. 5The New Diplomacy, 1889-1908: The Emergence of a Great Power128
Ch. 6Conclusion: Strong Nation, Weak State181
Index193

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