THE ROOTS OF THE MODERN AMERICAN EMPIRE by William Appleman Williams
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THE ROOTS OF THE MODERN AMERICAN EMPIRE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though other scholars may challenge Williams' interpretations and the exclusiveness of his economic orientation toward foreign policy, this could well be a seminal work and should certainly generate considerable interest in the academic community. Williams' basic purpose, toward which he has been moving in much of his prior writing, is to advance and expand the neglected expansionist thrust behind Frederick Jackson Turner's historic frontier thesis. The three primary points of his argument are: (1) ""The agricultural majority of the country developed, through the interaction of existing ideas and continuing experience, a marketplace image or conception of the world and how it worked--and how it could be manipulated to attain their objectives."" (2) ""The metropolitan minority of the nation gradually accepted the expansionist aspects of the agricultural conception of the world . . . adopting the imperial outlook during the same years that they consolidated their control of the political economy."" (3)""The agricultural expansionists (and later the metropolitans) who tried to maintain an operating balance between the expansion of freedom and the expansion of the marketplace were unsuccessful."" The body of the book is an in-depth analysis of how the ideas and action of American farmers in the decades before 1893 were the crucial factor behind the development and acceptance of the foreign policy that the U.S. followed after 1893 and which ""has carried our contemporary industrialized system to a major crisis in foreign affairs."" The study is permeated, for better or worse, by Williams' radical sympathies for ""community"" over ""empire"" and his ardent desire to sell a richer conception of freedom and social consciousness to a market-minded society.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1969
Publisher: Random House