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Creating the American Century
The Ideas and Legacies of America's Twentieth-Century Foreign Policy Founders


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108419475

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About the Authors
  • In his last work before his death in 2014, American historian Martin J. Sklar analyzes the influence of early twentieth-century foreign policy makers, focusing on modernization, global development, and the meaning of the 'American Century'. Calling this group of government officials and their advisors, including business leaders and economists, the 'founders of US foreign policy', Sklar examines their perspective on America's role in shaping human progress from cycles of empires to transnational post-imperialism. Sklar traces how this thinking both anticipated and generated the course of history from the Spanish-American War to World War II, through the Cold War and its outcome, and to post-9/11 global conflicts. The 'founders' legacy is interpreted in Wilson's Fourteen Points, Henry Luce's 1941 'American Century' Life editorial, and foreign policy formulation to the present. Showing how modernization has evolved, Sklar discusses capitalism and socialism in relation to modern democracy in the US and to emergent globalizing forces.

    • Contains further development of Sklar's three original concepts of capitalism in America: corporate liberalism, disaccumulation, and the capitalist/socialist Mix
    • Dives into re-assessments and controversies regarding the history of the US, its foreign relations, and world politics in the twentieth century, and their prospective course in the twenty-first century
    • Offers new perspectives on dependency, core-periphery, superpower, empire, globalization, and such historical and policy paradigms as realism versus idealism, balance-of-power versus collective security, isolationism versus internationalism, and other tensions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Essential reading for historians - and for historically-oriented policy advisors and officials. Sklar recapitulates, updates, and expands his earlier pathbreaking explorations of the American liberal society type and its influential role in the world. To previous conceptual innovations ('corporate liberalism', 'disaccumulation', 'capitalism-socialism mix'), Sklar adds 'transvestiture of left and right'.' Norton Wheeler, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

    'In this provocative book, the late Martin J. Sklar urges us to put aside the simplistic debates over unilateral versus multilateral, realist versus idealist, isolationist versus globalist, and to recover the more subtle understandings of the 'founders' of US foreign policy who emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Far from a nation with a short-term memory, America, in Sklar's telling, pursued a consistent policy that at first sought a dominant world position so as to bring about decolonization and, later, a world without a dominant hegemon. Creating the American Century will challenge students of American foreign policy and those who wish to understand the US's role in the world today.' John Yoo, University of California, Berkeley

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108419475
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Origins:
    1. The Philippines, China, and US global objects (the conant factor)
    2. A panel at the AEA
    3. World history: evolving cycles of empires
    4. US history: in the evolving cycle
    5. 20th-Century world politics and the US role: moving beyond the cycle to universal evolution
    6. 1898 to 1941: American century-birth and awkward youth
    7. World War and Cold War: American century – young adulthood
    8. Post-Cold War and 9/11: American century arrived
    9. American century fulfilled and revoked, or nullified: from empires to a universal humanity? Or, cycles forever?
    Part IV. Bringing History Back In:
    10. History in the US, the US in history.

  • Author

    Martin J. Sklar
    Martin J. Skar (1935–2014) was an American historian best known for originating the concepts of corporate liberalism, the disaccumulation of capital, and the capitalist-socialist mix. His books include The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890–1916: The Market, the Law and Politics (Cambridge, 1988) and The United States as a Developing Country: Studies in U.S. History in the Progressive Era and the 1920s (Cambridge, 1992). Sklar was the founding editor of several journals and a former Professor of History at Bucknell University.

    Prepared for publication by

    Nao Hauser

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