Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization / Edition 1

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The roots of American globalization can be found in the War of 1898. Then, as today, the United States actively engaged in globalizing its economic order, its political institutions, and its values. Thomas Schoonover argues that this drive to expand political and cultural reach-the quest for wealth, missionary fulfillment, security, power, and prestige-was inherited by the United States from Europe, especially Spain and Great Britain. Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization is a pathbreaking work of history that examines U.S. growth from its early nationhood to its first major military conflict on the world stage, also known as the Spanish-American War. As the new nation's military, industrial, and economic strength developed, the United States created policies designed to protect itself from challenges beyond its borders. According to Schoonover, a surge in U.S. activity in the Gulf-Caribbean and in Central America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was catalyzed by the same avarice and competitiveness that motivated the European adventurers to seek a route to Asia centuries earlier. Addressing the basic chronology and themes of the first century of the nation's expansion, Schoonover locates the origins of the U.S. goal of globalization. U.S. involvement in the War of 1898 reflects many of the fundamental patterns in our national history-exploration and discovery, labor exploitation, violence, racism, class conflict, and concern for security-that many believe shaped America's course in the twentieth and twenty-first century.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In contrast to the traditional globalization assertion that the world's "Heartland" lies somewhere in the Eurasian land mass, Schoonover, professor of history at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, places it in the Caribbean/Central American region that from 1492 to the present has acted as a bridge and a springboard for Europe's, then America's expansionist quest for Asian markets. The Spanish-American war of 1898, according to Schoonover, was neither an aberration nor a false path temporarily followed. It brought together most of the major themes of U.S. history: imperialism, militarism, labor exploitation, racism. Industrial technology increased production to a level where global distribution was the only way of sustaining the profits Americans had come to expect. For Schoonover, westward expansion was not a search for land and freedom, but a stage in opening America's way to the Pacific basin. The Caribbean region played a vital role in the process because it was the site for the isthmus canal that linked the U.S.-dominated North Atlantic to a Pacific region where during the first half of the 20th century, U.S. aims and policies were asserted by sophisticated combinations of economic, political, military and cultural pressure. Asian reactions were predictable: "suspicion, distrust, anger, and hatred," a legacy that Schoonover finds endures to the present. Schoonover acknowledges his particular intellectual debt to Walter LaFeber (who provides an introduction) for many of these ideas. His concise history of the U.S.'s early imperial maneuvering is scarcely comforting and should play a role in ongoing debates about current actions. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Schoonover's brief, provocative interpretation of US foreign relations based on 40 years of research will challenge all who read it.... Essential." — Choice

"A wide-ranging and learned book." — Historian

"A suggestive synthesis that links the emergence of a late nineteenth-century United States empire to the rise of an all-pervasive twentieth-century economic and cultural globalism." — International History Review

"A masterful job of pulling together long-forgotten thread of mid-19th century history to explain why 'Mr. Hearst's war' against Spain was, 80 years of history to the contrary, actually our first global war." — John D. Stempel, Patterson School of Diplomacy, University of Kentucky

"Very forward-looking and thought-provoking.... Will surely provoke lively discussion among students and scholars." — Latin Americanist

"Schoonover's sobering and thought-provoking study shows why and how the American hunger for wealth, material, labor, markets, and attempts at empire building was sparked by the Spanish-American War of 1898 and continues unabated to this day." — Military Heritage

"His concise history of the U.S.'s early imperial maneuvering is scarcely comforting and should play a role in ongoing debates about current actions." — Publishers Weekly

"During a time when Americans speak all too glibly about their 'empire,' it is necessary to understand where they took the fork in the road to that 'empire,' how their last 'empire' turned out (that is, badly), and how we should think about American empires. Schoonover does all this masterfully, succinctly, and in a broad historical context that is as instructive as it is imaginative." — Walter F. LaFeber, from the Foreword

"In this provocative synthesis, Schoonover offers a searing indictment of U.S. foreign policy and informal empire.... Will almost certainly generate debate among scholars; it also merits the attention of anyone with a serious interest in U.S. history." — American Historical Review

"Well-researched, especially considering the difficulty of using recently declassified information." — J. W. Thacker, Bowling Green Daily News

"Schoonover's study is a welcome addition to the scholarship on the role of Latin America in World War II. Hitler's Man in Havana is also an exciting tale that should be of interest to fans of espionage novels." — Michael R. Hall, The Latin Americanist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813122823
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 0.50 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 Exploration and New Territories, 1780s-1850s 9
2 The Great Powers in the Caribbean Basin, 1800-1890s 18
3 The Great Powers in East Asia and the Pacific, 1840s-1890s 35
4 U.S. Domestic Developments and Social Imperialism, 1850s-1890s 53
5 Three Crises: The 1893 Depression, China, and Cuba 65
6 The War of 1898 in the Pacific Basin 88
7 The Legacy of the Crises of the 1890s 102
Notes 123
Selected Bibliography 153
Index 165
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