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Taking up the cases of America and France in the middle third of the nineteenth century, this chapter demonstrates that long-term changes to the organization of a society – demographic growth, territorial expansion, industrialization, etc. – affect the relative costs and benefits of different political strategies. With America’s expansion west and south in the early nineteenth century, millions of new voters, only weakly attached to existing political parties, were available for mobilization. Andrew Jackson took advantage, combining the use of patronage and populism to become the first outsider to win the presidency. In France, political participation remained highly constrained in the wake of the monarchical restorations of the early nineteenth century. When the Orléanist monarchy was overthrown in 1848, Louis Napoleon used his illustrious name to win elections for the new office of president. With Jackson’s administration, a new, more expansive spoils system was introduced. Allegiance to the Democratic and Whig parties was almost total, rendering direct populist mobilization of the masses an unlikely route to power. The populist strategy in America began instead to be aimed at winning the leadership of a mass party.
The British Empire provided the context in which both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt came to maturity and defined and aggravated their differences as national leaders. The chapter begins by comparing the shared beliefs and values of Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt on empire and race before showing how Franklin Roosevelt emerged from his cousin’s shadow to develop a hostility towards the British Empire inspired by genuine idealism as well as calculating pragmatism. It documents the tension between Churchill’s imperialism and his appreciation that American participation in the war was the key to victory, examining the differences between the two leaders before looking at their wartime relationship through the lens of their very different responses to events in the British Empire, especially in India. Churchill’s dispute with Roosevelt on the subject of the British Empire went to the heart of the relationship between a Democrat president who wanted to create a new world order imbued with American values and a Conservative prime minister who aimed to maintain the old world in all its glory. This disjunction threatened the stability of the wartime alliance.
Following the Civil War, the United States exerted its diplomatic, economic, and military leverage to pursue economic and political interests in Latin America, as it believed that what was good for business was good for the country. The emphasis on national security had not disappeared, but the threats to U.S. borders were less dire than in the past as European countries were generally easing themselves out of the region. Latin American leaders had neither the unified political support nor the military strength required to counter U.S. influence. While certain Latin American policy makers resisted U.S. hegemony, both politically and militarily, others welcomed it. Political and economic elites out of power appealed to the United States for assistance because they believed it could provide stability and wealth. The United States stepped neatly and easily into this political maelstrom. The chapter concludes at the turn of the twentieth century, when the era of intervention began in earnest.
The twentieth century dawned on a regional, southern-based African American community on the verge of diasporic national change. Decades before the Great Urban Migration, Black individuals had migrated west as homesteaders, cowboys, soldiers, and town-builders, participating in the project of Manifest Destiny. But by the early 1900s, the “frontier” was receding into the realms of myth and memory, and white writers such as Frederick Jackson Turner, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister wondered what would become of American manhood once the “Wild West” disappeared in the new, industrializing order. Black male writers, who had themselves sought to establish masculine credentials by joining frontier conquest, wondered too. Nat Love, a former slave turned ranch hand, and Oscar Micheaux, a farmer turned filmmaker, recorded their experiences, respectively, in their memoirs The Life and Adventures of Nat Love and The Conquest. In their writings can be seen the literary tension between the “Wild West” of violence and savagery and the “agrarian West” being settled by farmers and ethnic groups from across the world.
On April 2nd, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson entered the halls of Congress and requested a declaration of war against Germany; however, pressure to intervene in the Great War had begun in 1914. This chapter focuses on this pressure. Specifically, it examines the military preparedness movement, and the cultural and political anxieties that fueled this movement. Spearheaded by Theodore Roosevelt and Leonard Wood, the movement established volunteer training camps across the United States. While the movement never led to the universal military training that Roosevelt and Wood hoped for, it exerted significant influence in the United States. Through the camps, Roosevelt’s and Wood’s lecture circuits, and literature such as the poetry collection Rookie Rhymes, the movement popularized militarist attitudes, which functioned as a panacea for broader problems of gender, class, and modernity. Most notably, the movement shaped thousands of elite men who held important positions in politics, finance, the media, and other spheres of American society—before, during, and after the war. This chapter unpacks the movement’s influence, as it illuminates the significance of preparedness to the historical record of the First World War.
Chapter 8 examines presidential remarks concerning Court cases prior to the modern presidency. This chapter enables us to place modern presidents in historical perspective and to illuminate how constitutional and political concerns motivated early presidents to discuss Court decisions. We examine all presidential remarks related to Supreme Court cases from 1789 through 1953 (Washington to Truman). We show that historic presidents rarely discussed the Court’s cases in their public rhetoric, choosing instead to share their opinions about the Court’s cases in their private correspondences. However, Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure marked the end of this norm, which was eviscerated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was in regular conflict with the Court.
After a series of brutal and costly colonial wars in German Africa and legislative impasses in the Reichstag, Chancellor Bülow called new elections in 1906 to forge a stable legislative bloc of liberal and conservative parties. This chapter analyzes how Schmoller, Sering, and the other fleet professors mobilized for this election campaign to support the colonial reform program of the new Colonial Director Bernhard Dernburg as a new prong of “World Policy.” This campaign generated much new imperialist propaganda that would have a lasting impact in Germany. As the colonial crisis subsided, the Baghdad railroad faced new financial and political challenges that Karl Helfferich was called to surmount. Formal professor exchanges between the United States and Germany were initiated to help improve deteriorating relations with the United States, with Hermann Schumacher serving as the first Kaiser Wilhelm Professor to Columbia University from 1906 to 1907. The United States was now an imperial power, and Schumacher’s extensive travel through the country and to Cuba revealed its vast potential but also its challenges to Germany. Strong parallels were suggested with Russia, reinforcing more Eurasian aspirations for German “World Policy.”
America's original Progressives, rising to prominence at the turn of the twentieth century, sounded the theme of democratic reform. The Progressive push for democratization is complicated by the fact that the Movement was also the launching point for the modern administrative state. For Theodore Roosevelt, the Constitution's Federalist Framers had obsessed about majority tyranny and thus erected a system which enshrined minority tyranny. Like Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson believed that the American system of government was too undemocratic and, also like Roosevelt, he pinned blame on the Framers' obsession with a highly individualized and abstract notion of liberty. In thinking about administration in this way, as a means of reconciling democratization with expert governance, Wilson thought in terms that have proved to be more relevant to contemporary American government than Roosevelt did. Popular presidential leadership, championed by both Wilson and Roosevelt, has proved to be a central feature of American politics.
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