From the early years of the republic, many Americans anticipated a Pacific Age in world affairs that the United States would inevitably dominate, not in a territorial sense so much as in a cultural and commercial one. Despite the reality that Asia was of little real economic importance in American life until recently, a powerful image persisted in the American mind of the promises of riches to be found across the Pacific. This book provides the history of that dream, from the time of Spanish galleons to the hypersonic airplane of the future.
With bewildering speed, the North Pacific region has come to rival the North Atlantic as a global center of manufacturing, trade and information, and the generation of wealth. The economic statistics show that the Age of the Pacific has truly arrived. Perry vividly shows that from the early years of the republic many Americans anticipated a Pacific Age in world affairs that the United States would inevitably dominate, not in a territorial sense so much as in a cultural and commercial one. Despite the reality that Asia was of little real economic importance in American life until recently, a powerful image persisted in the American mind of the promise of riches to be found across the Pacific. This book provides the history of that dream, from the time of Spanish galleons to the hypersonic airplane of the future.
Countless books have been written about American-East Asian relations, but fewer books have addressed the importance of the Pacific Ocean to the United States. No one before has shown so comprehensively how Americans dominated the creation of trans-Pacific trade routes. This book will be of great interest to professional historians and the general public interested in the history of American-Pacific relations, the history of transportation, and the history of the entrepreneurial doers and dreamers who spearheaded American commerce with Asia.
About the Author
JOHN CURTIS PERRY is Henry Willard Denison Professor of History and Director, North Pacific Program, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. In 1991 the Japanese government awarded an imperial decoration, the Order of the Sacred Treasure, to Perry for extraordinary contributions to American-Japanese relations.
Table of Contents
The Cruel Pacific: A Prologue
Opening the Great Ocean
Captain Cook and the American Corporal, John Ledyard
"To Glory Arise!" 1784-1844
The Pacific: Key to New American Wealth?
Searching for Something to Sell
Science and Shipping
Whitening the Seas, 1844-1869
Pushing Out Pacific Frontiers
The Clipper Ship, Maury the Pathfinder, and the Great Circle Route
Americans in Far Pacific Waters: Expeditions
Americans in Far Pacific Waters: Entrepreneurs
The Russian Connection
Girdling the Earth, 1869-1914
Suez, British Ascendancy, and American Maritime Decline
The Great Transcontinental Pacific Railroads
William Gilpin and the Cosmopolitan Railway
Steamships on Schedule: The Pacific Mail
Railroad Titans and the Beringian Route to Asia
Grasping the Western Pacific
Theodore Roosevelt, the Pacific, and the Panama Canal
Conquering the Skies, 1914-1941
World War I and Pacific Transport
The Early Air Age
The Zeppelin: First Over the Pacific
Juan Trippe and Pan American
"North to the Orient"
War, the North Pacific, and "The New American Frontier," 1941-1945
War Challenges Pacific Transport
New Routes and New Frontiers
Flying to Russia
America, the New Global Hub?
The Collapse of the American Merchant Marine
A New Northwest Passage
The Jet Revolution and American Leadership