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The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations
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  • Volume 2: The American Search for Opportunity, 1865–1913
  • Walter LaFeber, Cornell University, New York
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Since their first publication, the four volumes of the Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations have served as the definitive source for the topic, from the colonial period to the Cold War. This second volume of the updated edition describes the causes and dynamics of United States foreign policy from 1865 to 1913, the era when the United States became one of the four great world powers and the world's greatest economic power. The dramatic expansion of global power during this period was set in motion by the strike-ridden, bloody, economic depression from 1873 to 1897 when American farms and factories began seeking overseas markets for their surplus goods, as well as by a series of foreign policy triumphs, as America extended its authority to Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal Zone, Central America, the Philippines and China. Ironically, as Americans searched for opportunity and stability abroad, they helped create revolutions in Central America, Panama, the Philippines, Mexico, China and Russia.


‘The American Search for Opportunity is vintage LaFeber: provocatively conceived, forcefully argued, and beautifully written. In this revised edition, LaFeber has retained and strengthened his arresting thesis that U.S. policy makers, prompted by a search for markets and flawed racial views, aggressively pursued opportunity and informal empire abroad at the expense of international order and stability.’

Joseph A. Fry - University of Nevada, Las Vegas

‘This is a masterful account of the United States’ rise to global power by one of the most eminent scholars of U.S. foreign relations. Drawing on the latest scholarship and original research, Walter LaFeber eloquently demonstrates how U.S. economic expansion wreaked havoc around the world. He also shows that the disorder created by U.S. political and industrial leaders abroad gave rise to an imperial presidency at home. This thought-provoking book is essential reading for anyone interested in U.S. hegemony in a globalizing world - and the effects of globalization on the United States.’

Michel Gobat - University of Iowa

‘No one has done more to revolutionize our thinking about U.S. foreign policy in the era following the Civil War than Walter LaFeber. His path-breaking The New Empire demonstrated how those years set the stage for America’s twentieth-century career as a world power. The American Search for Opportunity, 1865–1913 not only takes that story beyond 1898, it highlights what a powerfully destabilizing and unsettling experience for other lands American expansion into the world has often been. Professor LaFeber addresses compellingly an issue that students of the past, and citizens of the present, would do well to give much greater attention.’

Robert E. Hannigan - Suffolk University

‘The American Search for Opportunity, 1865–1913 is much more than a survey of U.S. foreign policy from the Civil War to World War One. It is an elegant interpretive essay. LaFeber argues boldly and persuasively that the relentlessness of the U.S. search for global economic opportunities jostled societies as disparate as Russia and Haiti, inspiring revolution and turmoil around the world.’

Nancy Mitchell - North Carolina State University

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  • 6 - 1893–1896: Chaos and Crises
    pp 97-121
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    The Civil War created the beginnings of a new world for U.S. foreign policy, but it was another generation before that future could be realized. The Civil War officially ended the slavery of African Americans, but the Emancipation Proclamation was not a commitment as well to raise the former slaves to equality. The Civil War and the acts of Reconstruction turned the United States into a nation-state. Many of the industries spawned by the Civil War helped shape U.S. foreign relations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The racism and xenophobia shaped the ideology of following generations, including those who made U.S. foreign policy. Post-Civil War America remained a vast, unwieldy country of isolated, parochial communities, but the federal government had demonstrated its power to invade these areas and integrate them into an industrializing, railway-linked world that had global boundaries.
  • 7 - The Empire of 1898 – and Upheaval
    pp 122-147
  • View abstract


    From the 1890s, United States had emerged as the greatest and most competitive player in the global marketplace. In the 1880s, U.S. multinational corporations began to replace the farmers as players of the most important role in the nation's foreign economic policy. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, were making the U.S. the world's leading power while also making such armories necessary. In 1886, Carnegie published Triumphant democracy, which argued that his law of surplus, among other capitalist principles, was as good for democracy as it would become for Russian railroads. The nation's democracy had produced the new Industrial Revolution, and it had provided the wherewithal to reinforce individual freedom. Capitalism produced democracy as well as, and because of, profits. Darwinism was the loose application of Charles Darwin's theories to the socioeconomic world. Carnegie was among the many who found social Darwinism highly congenial.
  • 8 - Pacific Empire – and Upheaval
    pp 148-173
  • View abstract


    The Exclusion Act of 1882 was shaped by the economic downturn, but also by a deep-seated racism that, while it excluded some Asians, led to the lynching of numbers of Asians and African Americans in the 1880s and 1890s. It also melded with chaotic and tragic economic conditions in the West to produce a series of wars waged by the U.S. army against Indians. The American Protective Association was organized to advance the argument that it was time, if not past time, for immigration restriction, because racially Americans could no longer be improved upon. The rubbery qualities of racism and social Darwinism were remarkable. A leading spokesman of the New South, Henry Grady of Atlanta, declared that white supremacy was merely the right of character, intelligence, and property to rule. Along with the African Americans and Indians, Chinese immigrants were given a close-up look at this racism.
  • 9 - Theodore Roosevelt: Conservative as Revolutionary
    pp 174-199
  • View abstract


    The prominence of U.S military forces in the region after the 1880s placed the emphasis on obtaining economic opportunity and strategic footholds from which the United States could move to obtain further opportunities. In the final decades of the nineteenth century, the British relationship with Canada made Great Britain one of the two major obstacles to U.S. expansionism. The opportunities for expansion seemed plentiful, but two problems, race and revolution, brought to a stop the plans of Grant to annex areas in the Caribbean region. Railroad builders had tried to lay track in the 1860s to link up with their own transcontinental system, but the plan fell to Mexico's anti-Americanism. The Good Neighbor approach in the 1889-90 conference produced an arbitration convention to help settle disputes, a recommendation to build a railroad uniting North and South America, and the establishment of the Commercial Bureau of American Republics.
  • 10 - William Howard Taft and the Age of Revolution
    pp 200-222
  • View abstract


    Americans used the oceans as a moat to protect themselves against the corruptions and armies of Europe, and a highway to reach the markets of Europe and Asia as well as the colonial settlements of West Africa. As trade developed between white Americans and the Congo, so, did links between Africans and African Americans. The Samoa as in West Africa, as a strategic base would help guard the routes to Asia to relieve the growing glut of U.S. goods. The Review of Reviews argued that Hawaii was essential because of its central position in the commerce of the Pacific Ocean and linked the islands directly to the importance of the China market. In the post-1865 era, U.S. foreign policy was consistently shaped by choosing opportunity, both secular and religious, over stability. Seward had placed U.S. policy in Asia on two principles: the use of force and cooperation with other powers.
  • Conclusion: - The 1865–1913 Era Restated
    pp 223-228
  • View abstract


    The success of U.S. drive after the Spanish-American War of 1898 had been long in forming, but the catalyst was the 1873-97 depression and economic downturn, which transformed a long era of deflation into an economic crisis in the United States. In 1890s, farmers had been bludgeoned by falling crop prices, harsh winters, expensive transportation, and massive foreclosures. Richard Olney placed the American crisis within a larger, indeed global, crisis of capitalism. Americans try to escape the crises by being constantly in motion or becoming attracted to those who were. Many debtors in the country and the city turned to silver as a panacea. The importance of the 1896 election is that it was determined by the long depression, especially by the 1893-96 crisis. Thayer Mahan and William McKinley were prepared to take the leap from the chaos of the mid-1890s to an overseas empire of the twentieth century.
  • Bibliographic Essay
    pp 229-238
  • View abstract


    U.S. Empire in the Caribbean and the Pacific evolved precisely to try to create a modicum of efficiency and stability from a foreign policy that gave priority to commercial opportunity, domestic politics, and strategic power. There is a great field for American interests in both Russia and China but they are interdependent. Diplomacy is the management of international business and the Russians understand this as well as any peoples in the world. As a result of McKinley's foreign policy choices in early 1898, the United States first went to war, then became responsible for a series of interventions in Cuba to protect U.S. interests, and next sank into a decade-long involvement in Asia that led to war, conflict with Japan and Russia, and the acceleration of the Chinese revolution. The Insular Cases changed U.S. constitutional history for the sake of empire. McKinley transformed presidential powers by the grace of empire.

Bibliographic Essay

The place to begin for discovering the secondary (monographic) and primary (documentary) sources for the 1865–1913 era is Robert L. Beisner, editor, and Kurt W. Hanson, assistant editor, American Foreign Relations since 1600: A Guide to the Literature, 2 vols. (Santa Barbara, Calif., 2003), which is available in nearly all college and public libraries. These volumes are also updated on the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Web site. The two published volumes are unsurpassed for the coverage and depth they provide for works on American foreign relations. There are useful, and sometimes extended, comments on each of the thousands of entries, which consequently allow other bibliographies, including this one, to be brief and more specific to the themes and years covered by the present volume.

Also see the footnotes of this book for further bibliographic help. Those footnote sources are sometimes not repeated in this bibliographic essay.

For general overviews, begin with Robert Hannigan, The New World Order: American Foreign Policy, 1898–1917 (Philadelphia, 2002), the best recent work on that era in both the depth of its research on American society and its foreign policy, and the themes that unify the account; Eric Tyrone Love, Race over Empire: Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865–1900 (Chapel Hill, 2004), a fine overview that emphasizes, among other themes, how racist attitudes were employed by both imperialists and antiimperialists; David Ryan, U.S. Foreign Policy in World History (London, 2000), an excellent study of American policies in the context of – and sometimes, the author believes, as caused by – global affairs; Ian Tyrrell, Reforming the World: The Creation of America’s Moral Empire (Princeton, 2010), pioneering and superb, notably on the missionaries and “colonialism”; Matthew Frye Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917 (New York, 2000), an important analysis of the forty-year era that links, among other themes, questions over immigration with questions haunting U.S. expansion; Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880–1917 (Chicago, 1995), helpful in understanding parts of the nation’s foreign, as well as its domestic, catalysts, particularly in regard to several policymakers – Theodore Roosevelt, above all; Alfred E. Eckes, Jr., Opening America’s Market: U.S. Foreign Trade Policy since 1776 (Chapel Hill, 1995), a definitive overview by a leading and sometimes controversial scholar of the subject; Emily S. Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890–1945 (New York, 1982), a pioneering analysis of governmental-cultural interaction; Charles S. Campbell, The Transformation of American Foreign Relations, 1865–1900 (New York, 1976), an outstanding, detailed monograph that remains an important source; Dexter Perkins, The Monroe Doctrine, 1867–1907 (Baltimore, 1937), which after three-quarters of a century continues as the classic in the field; William H. Becker and Samuel F. Wells, Jr., eds., Economics and World Power (New York, 1984), in which David M. Pletcher’s work on the late nineteenth century stands out; William Appleman Williams, The Roots of the Modern American Empire (New York, 1969), a magisterial account that notably positions its argument in the American agricultural sector; and Michael H. Hunt, Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy (New Haven, 1987), particularly its use of race to explore the expansionism of the 1880–1910 years. Three accounts are important for their emphasis on domestic policies, but at times they also note how those policies shaped foreign affairs: Rebecca Edwards, New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865–1905 (New York, 2006); Steven J. Diner, A Very Different Age: Americans of the Progressive Era (New York, 1998); and Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: The United States 1877–1919 (New York, 1987).

For broader studies of imperialism, both of the United States and other nations, note Paul A. Kramer, “Power and Connection: Imperial Histories of the United States in the World,” American Historical Review 116 (December 2011): 1348–1391, which has an exceptionally extensive bibliography and is considerably better on younger historians than on the so-called New Left; Carl Parrini, “Theories of Imperialism,” in Lloyd Gardner, ed., Redefining the Past: Essays in Diplomatic History in Honor of William Appleman Williams (Corvallis, Ore., 1986), especially for the important post-1870s theorists whom Parrini and Martin J. Sklar have done much to revive and reinsert into this era of U.S. expansion; and Dominic Lievan, “Dilemmas of Empire, 1850–1918: Power, Territory, Identity,” Journal of Contemporary History 34 (April 1999): 163–200.

For post–Civil War diplomacy, the takeoff of the U.S. economic system, and the role of race, in addition to the books written by Love, Eckes, and Edwards, noted earlier, important accounts include Albert D. Chandler, Scale and Scope (Cambridge, Mass., 1990), the comprehensive, pivotal, and influential account; two distinguished volumes by Mira Wilkins, The Emergence of the Multinational Enterprise (Cambridge, Mass., 1970), especially for the 1880s, and The History of Foreign Investment in the United States (Cambridge, Mass., 1989); Ron Chernow, The House of Morgan (New York, 1990), a prize-winning, detailed account; Martin J. Sklar, The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890–1916 (New York, 1988), an outstanding analysis of the law and capitalist development; and Robert W. Rydell, All the World’s a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876–1916 (New York, 1985), pioneering and particularly important in demonstrating the pervasiveness of racism. Rydell can be complemented with George Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind, 1817–1914 (New York, 1971); and, particularly in the foreign policy area, Paul Gordon Lauren, Power and Prejudice (Boulder, Colo., 1988); Walter L. Williams, “U.S.-Indian Policy and the Debate over Philippines Annexation,” Journal of American History 66 (1980): 810–31, which pioneered in linking the Indian wars in North America to the perceptions and actions of U.S. military leaders who fought in the Philippines; Robert Wooster, The Military and U.S. Indian Policy, 1865–1903 (New York, 1988), important for analyzing the divide between military and federal authorities; Donald C. Bellomy, “Social Darwinism Revisited,” Perspectives in American History, n.s., 1 (1984): 1–129; and Cynthia Russett, Darwin in America: The Intellectual Response, 1865–1912 (San Francisco, 1976), now a standard on the Darwinian impact.

On the War of 1898, note two collections of important essays: Angel Smith and Emma Davila-Cox, eds., The Crisis of 1898: Colonial Redistribution and Nationalist Mobilization (New York 1999); and Virginia M. Bouvier, ed., Whose America? The War of 1898 and the Battle to Define the Nation (Westport, Conn., 2001), particularly the essays by Lester Langley, Sylvia Hilton, Louis A. Perez, Jr., Jim Zwick, and Francisco A. Scarano. Important monographs include Kristin Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Policies Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New York, 1998); Jeffrey Belnap and Raul Fernandez, eds., José Marti’s “Our America”: From National to Hemispheric Cultural Studies (Durham, N.C., 1998), notably the Plummer and Ferrer essays among those providing an international background to Marti’s career; and José Marti, Esther Allen, and Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, José Marti: Selected Writings (New York, 2002). Louis A. Perez, Jr., is a leading scholar of general Cuban-U.S. relations as well as the run-up to the war and its results over the twentieth century. Among his publications, the following are especially important for their fresh interpretations (including Perez’s argument, now a standard interpretation of the McKinley policies that led to war, that the president went to all necessary lengths to prevent the Cuban revolutionaries themselves from having any political power on the island before and after the first U.S. forces landed): The United States and Cuba (Chapel Hill, 1990); The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography (Chapel Hill, 1998); and Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos (Chapel Hill, 2008). Note the important volume, one of several of his studies of the U.S.-Cuban relationship, by Jules R. Benjamin, The United States and the Origins of the Cuban Revolution (Princeton, 1990); Francisco Lopez Segrera, Cuba: capitalism, dependiente y subdesarrollo (1510–1959) (Havana, 1972), a contemporary Cuban view; Roland I. Perusse, The United States and Puerto Rico (Melbourne, Fla., 1990); David F. Trask, The War with Spain in 1898 (New York, 1981), a good one-volume history of the conflict; Robert L. Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898–1900 (1968; reprint, New York, 1985, with new preface), the best monographic treatment of the debate; Fred Harvey Harrington, “The Anti-Imperialist Movement in the United States, 1898–1900,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1935): 211–30, the pioneering essay on the subject; Philip S. Foner and Richard C. Winchester, eds., Anti-Imperialist Reader: A Documentary History of Anti-Imperialism in the United States, Volume I: From the Mexican War to the Election of 1900 (New York, 1984), important primary sources; Raymond Carr, Spain, 1808–1975 (Oxford, 1982), which has a good general treatment of Spain’s 1890s diplomacy; John Offner, An Unwanted War (Chapel Hill, 1992), also useful for the Spanish side; and Cesar J. Ayala, American Sugar Kingdom: The Plantation Economy of the Spanish Caribbean, 1898–1934 (Chapel Hill, 1999), important for the early years of U.S. economic control over Cuba and Puerto Rico and also for insights into Edwin F. Atkins, one of the most influential American owners of Cuban sugar plantations.

There have been important publications dealing with the Philippines during the quarter-century after 1890. A good place to begin is Mark R. Barnes, The Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection, 1898–1900: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 2011); Alfred W. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison, Wis., 2009), an awesomely researched and highly important book with implications far beyond the Philippines; Glenn Anthony May’s pivotal work, for example, A Past Recovered (Quezon City, Philippines, 1987), and his important essay, “The Unfathomable Other: Historical Studies of U.S.-Philippine Relations,” in Warren I. Cohen, ed., Pacific Passage: The Study of American-East Asian Relations on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century (New York, 1996); David Silbey’s well-written overview, A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899–1902 (New York, 2007); path-breaking, especially because of the international contexts provided, are the essays in Julian Go and Anne L. Foster, eds., The American Colonial State in the Philippines (Durham, N.C., 2003); Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War, 1899–1902 (Lawrence, Kan., 2000), which notes on its opening pages that “thousands of revolutionary documents from the Philippine National Archives only increase” the difficulty of understanding the Filipino side of the war; Julian Go, American Empire and the Politics of Meaning: Elite Political Cultures in the Philippines and Puerto Rico during U.S. Colonialism (Durham, N.C., 2008), a sociologist’s explanation of why Puerto Rico became Americanized but the Philippines remained Filipino; Reynaldo Ileto, Filipinos and Their Revolution: Event, Discourse, and Historiography (Manila, 1999), essays, particularly on the revolutionary movement, that confront several of Glenn May’s interpretations; Paul A. Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill, 2006), a densely written account that opens fresh and disturbing insights into the relationship between race and the four-year war in the Philippines.

On general U.S. relations with other nations in Latin America (outside Cuba and Puerto Rico), a good place to begin is an overview written by a distinguished scholar of Latin America, Brian Loverman, No Higher Law: American Foreign Policy and the Western Hemisphere since 1776 (Chapel Hill, 2010); Thomas F. O’Brien, Making the Americas: The United States and Latin America from the Age of Revolutions to the Era of Globalization (Albuquerque, 2007), particularly three chapters on the late nineteenth century to World War I, all of which build on the idea of “empire” (O’Brien’s term); Lester D. Langley, America and the Americas (Athens, Ga., 1989), an outstanding general account by a noted historian and editor of the leading series on U.S.-Latin American relations. Thomas Schoonover’s important work on the Caribbean and Central American relationships is noted in various footnotes in this book, but also see his important overview essay, “Europe, the Spanish-American War, and Great Power Activity in the Caribbean and Asia,” The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Newsletter 28 (September 1997): 1–26. For solid work on important bilateral relationships, note, among others, Michel Gobat, Confronting the American Dream: Nicaragua Under U.S. Imperial Rule (Durham, N.C., 2005), a superb account; José Joaquin Morales, De la Historia de Nicaragua de 1889–1912 (Granada, 1963), which has interesting sections on Zelaya from a Nicaraguan point of view; Mary Renda, Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915–1940 (Chapel Hill, 2001) for the thesis and early chapters; Brenda Gayle Plummer, Haiti and the Great Powers, 1902–1915 (Baton Rouge, 1988), which remains a standard account for these seminal years; Joseph Smith, Brazil and the United States: Convergence and Divergence (Athens, Ga., 2010), the most recent study by this specialist on U.S.-Brazilian relations; Lawrence A. Clayton, Peru and the United States: The Condor and the Eagle (Athens, Ga., 1999), important for the late nineteenth century’s three-way relationships with Chile.

Recent work on Panama and the Panama Canal has been important for its different perspectives and fresh research: Julia Greene, The Canal Builders: Making America’s Empire and the Panama Canal (New York, 2009), highly significant for its revelations of the various labor forces in the building of the canal and the American handling of those groups, which became a major source for a PBS television documentary on the subject in the acclaimed American Experience series; Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu, The Big Ditch: How America Took, Built, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal (Princeton, 2011), a most impressively researched account, complete with many charts and mathematical evaluations (including those of various financing efforts); and Michael L. Conniff, Panama and the United States (Athens, Ga., 1992), a highly useful overview.

U.S.-Mexican relations and the onset of the historic Mexican Revolution can be studied in Friedrich Katz’s two classic volumes, The Secret War in Mexico: Europe, the United States, and the Mexican Revolution (Chicago, 1981), and Riot, Rebellion, and Revolution: Rural Social Conflict in Mexico (Princeton, 1988), which Katz edited; Alan Knight, U.S.-Mexican Relations, 1910–1940 (San Diego, 1987), which builds on Knight’s two-volume work on Mexico and provides a different perspective; and Dan LaBotz, Edward L. Doheny: Petroleum, Power, and Politics in the U.S. and Mexico (Westport, Conn., 1991), a biography providing considerable insight into the general, highly important U.S. oil holdings in Mexico. For a superbly researched account that provides necessary context for understanding U.S.-Mexican relations of this era, see Ramón Eduardo Ruiz, Triumphs and Tragedy: A History of the Mexican People (New York, 1992).

For leading analyses of American expansion across the Pacific, begin with Tom Coffman, Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai’i (Kihei, Hawai’i, 2009); Ralph S. Kuykendall’s detailed The Hawaiian Kingdom, 3 vols. (Honolulu, 1938–67); Sally Engle Merry, Colonizing Hawai’i: The Cultural Power of Law (Princeton, 2002); Kenneth J. Hagan, This People’s Navy: The Making of American Sea Power (New York, 1991); and Hagan’s American Gunboat Diplomacy and the Old Navy, 1877–1889 (Westport, Conn., 1973), both of which are important because of their handling of the implications of the post-1889 battleship fleet; Dennis L. Noble, The Eagle and the Dragon: The U.S. Military in China, 1901–1937 (Westport, Conn., 1990), useful in the pre-1913 era for Noble’s analysis of events during the Boxer Rebellion; Warren I. Cohen, America’s Response to China (New York, 1990), the best overview of the long relationship; David L. Anderson, Imperialism and Idealism: American Diplomats in China, 1861–1898 (Bloomington, Ind., 1986), highly useful for the years leading up to mid-1890s crises; Michael H. Hunt, The Making of a Special Relationship: The U.S. and China to 1914 (New York, 1983), which remains valuable for its analysis of the rise and fall of U.S. interests between 1897 and 1914; Paul A. Cohen, History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (New York, 1997), a classic that uses the Boxers to explore a host of relationships within and outside China; and David J. Silbey, The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China (New York, 2012), a useful overview with important emphases on internal Chinese relationships and changes. For American missionary activity, see especially Patricia R. Hill, The World Their Household (Ann Arbor, 1985), on the Women’s Foreign Mission movement; and James Reed, The Missionary Mind and American East Asia Policy (Cambridge, Mass., 1985). For Korean-U.S. relations, an excellent beginning is Yur-Bok Lee and Wayne Patterson, eds., One Hundred Years of Korean-American Relations, 1882–1982 (University, Ala., 1986), which contains important essays; and note especially the superb account by Frederick C. Drake, The Empire of the Seas: A Biography of Rear Admiral Robert Wilson Shufeld, USN (Honolulu: 1984), the biography of the storied naval officer who opened Korea to U.S. (and other) interests and was also involved in similar campaigns in Africa.

U.S.-European relations can be viewed in part in Paul A. Kramer, “Empires, Exceptions, and Anglo-Saxons: Race and Rule Between the British and United States Empires, 1880–1910,” Journal of American History 88 (March 2002): 1315–53, an important analysis with extensive bibliography; Duncan Andrew Campbell, Unlikely Allies: Britain, America, and the Victorian Origins of the Special Relationship (London, 2006), with considerable material on the social as well as the diplomatic relationships; Bernard Porter, Empire and Superempire: Britain, America, and the World (New Haven, 2006); Nancy Mitchell, The Danger of Dreams: German and American Imperialism in Latin America (Chapel Hill, 1999), a landmark study of the supposedly combustible competition in the Americas; Thomas Schoonover, Germany in Central America: Competitive Imperialism, 1821–1929 (Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1998), an important analysis of an active and growing group in the region based, as is Mitchell’s book, on extensive use of German records. For the historic turn from friendship to enmity in the Russian-U.S. relationship during the late nineteenth century, the standard account is now Norman E. Saul, Concord and Conflict: The United States and Russia, 1867–1914 (Lawrence, Kan., 1996), superbly researched and a volume in the most important multivolume study of post-1776 U.S.-Russian relations; David S. Foglesong, The American Mission and the “Evil Empire”: The Crusade for a “Free Russia” since 1881 (New York, 2007), a most useful account for understanding, among many other events in the bilateral relationship, the role of the post-1881 pogroms and the U.S. responses; Dietrich Geyer, Russian Imperialism … 1860–1914 (New Haven, 1987), linking the domestic changes to Russian foreign policies; Edward H. Zabriskie, American-Russian Rivalry in the Far East, 1895–1914 (Philadelphia, 1946), which remains a most useful and dependable analysis of these crucial years in the relationship’s turn; Frederick F. Travis, George Kennan and the American-Russian Relationship, 1865–1924 (Athens, Ohio, 1990), a revealing and well-told biography of a colorful central figure in the Russian-American competition of the pre–World War I years; Raymond A. Esthus, Double Eagle and the Rising Sun: The Russians and Japanese at Portsmouth in 1905 (Durham, N.C., 1988), an account by an authority on these years that can be used with the Howard K. Beale biography of Theodore Roosevelt, noted later, for a comprehensive view of these historic peace talks.

Good studies of major U.S. political figures during the 1865–1913 era include Geoffrey Perret, Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier and President (New York, 1997); Gregory J. Dehler, Chester Alan Arthur: The Life of a Gilded Age Politician and President (New York, 2007); David Healy, James G. Blaine and Latin America (Columbia, Mo., 2001), important as well because of Healy’s superb earlier studies of U.S. interests in Latin America; Allen B. Spetter, The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison (Lawrence, Kan., 1987); Richard F. Welch, The Presidencies of Grover Cleveland (Lawrence, Kan., 1988), which, like Spetter’s biography of Harrison, stands out because of the author’s previous work in the era’s U.S. foreign relations; Scott Miller, The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century (New York, 2011), an outstanding, well-written, and thoughtful account that, among other key topics, deals with McKinley’s success in adjusting U.S. foreign policies as the country transformed from an agricultural to an industrial, urbanized society; Eric Rauchway, Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America (New York, 2003), a highly readable analysis by an author who has written widely on this era and who here goes somewhat beyond McKinley’s assassination to consider, among other topics, anarchism in American society; Kathleen Dalton, Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life (New York, 2002), an excellent biography with good material on foreign policy; Howard K. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power (Baltimore, Md., 1956), a richly researched analysis that remains, more than a half-century later, a standard, detailed account of TR’s foreign policies; Thomas G. Dyer, Theodore Roosevelt and the Idea of Race (Baton Rouge, 1980), important on a major theme in TR’s life and policies; Richard W. Turk, The Ambiguous Relationship: Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan (New York, 1987), a fascinating study of two key figures who led in the founding of the new American overseas empire and the modern battleship fleet that was to defend and expand that empire; Kenton J. Clymer, John Hay: The Gentleman as Diplomat (Ann Arbor, 1975), a good biography that can be used with John Hay, The Life and Letters of John Hay, 2 vols., ed. Roscoe R. Thayer (Boston, 1915); Lewis L. Gould, The William Howard Taft Presidency (Lawrence, Kan., 2009), with important material on Taft’s foreign policies; David H. Burton, William Howard Taft, Confident Peacemaker (Philadelphia, 2004), a sunny view of Taft, with a half-dozen useful documents from 1905 to 1912 in the book’s appendix; William Howard Taft and David Henry Burton, The Collected Works of William Howard Taft, 7 vols. (Athens, Ohio, 2001–2004), helpful material on Taft as colonial administrator, secretary of war, and president, among other significant posts.


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