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National Security and Core Values in American History


  • Date Published: June 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521740104

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About the Authors
  • There is no book quite like National Security and Core Values in American History. Drawing upon themes from the whole of the nation's past, William O. Walker III presents a new interpretation of the history of American exceptionalism, that is, of the basic values and liberties that have given the United States its very identity. He argues that a political economy of expansion and the quest for security led American leaders after 1890 to equate prosperity and safety with global engagement. In so doing, they developed and clung to what Walker calls the 'security ethos.' Expressed in successive grand strategies – Wilsonian internationalism, global containment, and strategic globalism – the security ethos ultimately damaged the values citizens cherish most and impaired popular participation in public affairs. Most important, it led to the abuse of executive authority after September 11, 2001, by the administration of President George W. Bush.

    • Will help Americans understand why their country went to war in the Middle East in 2003
    • Draws upon themes from the whole of the nation's past, historicizes notions of national values and exceptionalism
    • Proposes concept of the American 'security ethos' and examines its effects and effectiveness in American history and foreign policy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In the tradition of William Appleman Williams, National Security and Core Values represents a broad and provocative interpretation of America's role abroad since its founding over three centuries ago. U.S. leaders, William Walker contends, abandoned the nation's core values, such as republican virtue, in the pursuit of national security, which in reality became aggressive expansion and even empire. Walker offers an intellectual tour de force that shows a deep understanding of foreign relations and the domestic causes and consequences of U.S. actions abroad.' Robert Buzzanco, University of Houston

    'Drawing from his masterful big picture of U.S. global expansionism over 400 years, and especially the past century, Walker clearly explains how Americans' unexamined belief that their own supposed exceptionalism (in both their economics and politics) propelled that expansionism – which climaxed with the tragic failures in the post-1960s era, particularly those of the George W. Bush administration.' Walter LaFeber, Cornell University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521740104
    • length: 366 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Origins of the Security Ethos, 1688–1919:
    1. Commerce, expansion, and republican virtue
    2. The first national security state
    Part II. Internationalism and Containment, 1919–1973:
    3. The postwar era and American values
    4. The construction of global containment
    5. Civic virtue in Richard Nixon's America
    Part III. The Age of Strategic Globalism, 1973–2001:
    6. Core values and strategic globalism through 1988
    7. The false promise of a new world order
    8. Globalization and militarism
    Part IV. The Bush Doctrine:
    9. The war on terror and core values
    Conclusion: The security ethos and civic virtue.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • American Human Rights Policy
    • National Security Policy of the United States
    • The American Political Tradition
    • U.S. History
    • US Foreign Relations Since 1898
    • the U.S. and the world
  • Author

    William O. Walker III, University of Toronto
    William O. Walker III has taught at California State University, Sacramento; Ohio Wesleyan University; Florida International University; and the University of Toronto. He is the author of Drug Control in the Americas (1981, revised edition 1989) and Opium and Foreign Policy: The Anglo-American Search for Order in Asia, 1912–1954 (1991). He has also edited or co-edited several books, including Drugs in the Western Hemisphere: An Odyssey of Cultures in Conflict (1996), and his articles have appeared in Pacific Historical Review, the Journal of American History, Diplomatic History, and NACLA Report on the Americas.

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