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4. The US rise to world power, 1776–1945  

Walter LaFeber

This chapter focuses on the emergence of the United States as a ‘superpower’ in 1945. It begins with a discussion of how America rose from being a group of British colonies to a continental empire containing human slavery during the period 1776–1865. It then examines how the reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned America into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. It also considers Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and how the United States got involved in World War I, how the American economic system sank into depression between 1929 and 1933, and US role in the Cold War between 1933 and 1945.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

17. Traditional Theories in Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines traditional theories in global politics. It begins with a discussion of early liberal approaches, with particular emphasis on liberal international theory whose proponents include US President Woodrow Wilson and Norman Angell. Liberal international theory is characterized by an optimism concerning the prospects of a peaceful international order established through strong international institutions underpinned by international law. The chapter proceeds by considering the emergence of ‘realism’ as a general approach to the study of politics, along with the different approaches to the study of international politics following the Second World War, including positivism. It also explores the rise of the English School and the concept of international society before concluding with an analysis of neo-liberalism and neorealism that resulted from revisions of both liberalism and realism in the post-war period.

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Cover US Foreign Policy

12. US foreign policy in the Middle East1  

Toby Dodge

This chapter examines the main dynamics that have transformed U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East over the last eighty-five years, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. It first considers the applicability of realist, Marxist, and constructivist theories of international relations before discussing the role that the Cold War, oil, and Israel have played in shaping U.S. foreign policy. It shows how, in each of these three areas, U.S. tactical approach to the Middle East has produced unintended consequences that have increased resentment towards America, destabilized the region, and undermined its long-term strategic goals. The chapter also explores the Bush Doctrine, launched after 9/11 and the resultant invasion of Iraq. It concludes by assessing Obama’s attempts to overcome the tensions and suspicion causes by previous U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

3. The US rise to world power, 1776–1945  

Walter LaFeber

This chapter examines how the United States evolved as a world power during the period 1776–1945. It first considers how Americans set out after the War of Independence to establish a continental empire. Thomas Jefferson called this an ‘empire for liberty’, but by the early nineteenth century the United States had become part of an empire containing human slavery. Abraham Lincoln determined to stop the territorial expansion of this slavery and thus helped bring about the Civil War. The reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned the United States into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. The chapter also discusses Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and concludes with an analysis of U.S. economic depression and the onset of the Cold War.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

17. Traditional Theories in Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines traditional theories in global politics. It begins with a discussion of early liberal approaches, with particular emphasis on liberal international theory whose proponents include U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Norman Angell. Liberal international theory is characterised by an optimism concerning the prospects of a peaceful international order established through strong international institutions underpinned by international law. The chapter proceeds by considering the emergence of ‘realism’ as a general approach to the study of politics, along with the different approaches to the study of international politics following World War II, including positivism. It also explores the rise of the English School and the concept of international society before concluding with an analysis of neo-liberalism and neorealism that resulted from revisions of both liberalism and realism in the post-war period.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

12. US foreign policy in the Middle East  

Toby Dodge

This chapter examines the main dynamics that have transformed US foreign policy towards the Middle East since World War I from the time of Woodrow Wilson to that of Donald Trump. It first considers the applicability of realist, Marxist, and constructivist theories of international relations before discussing the ways in which the Cold War, oil, and Israel have shaped American foreign policy. In particular, it shows how the United States’ tactical approach to the Middle East has increased resentment towards the Americans, destabilized the region, and undermined the USA’s long-term strategic goals. The chapter also explores the Bush Doctrine, launched after 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, and President Barack Obama’s attempts to deal with the Middle East during and after the Arab Spring. Finally, it asks whether the Trump administration’s policy toward the Middle East represents a radical change or a continuity with previous presidents.