In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS277 mulative thought, concretizing and gauging its effectiveness, resolving contradictory expressions—and it would have been valuable had he considered the problem more fully. The book's findings do not essentially challenge the interpretation that LaFeber presented in The New Empire: that American foreign policy in the three decades following the Civil War was far more expansionist -minded than would appear from external results. Compared to the massive land grabs of the 1840's or the smaller acquisitions of the turn-of-the-eentury years, this in-between age does indeed seem placid. But if one looks at American attitudes, especially economic concerns and ambitions, one sees the seeds being planted—some times carefully, sometimes haphazardly—that would bear fruit in the twentieth century . Plesur corroborates this interpretation with a wealth of documentation on the attitudes of government personnel, militarists, religious leaders, scholars, explorers, and, less prominently, industrialists. Clearly, the United States was not in the doldrums during these years. The book is primarily descriptive, not conceptual, and Plesur's own attitude toward "America's Outward Thrust" is ambivalent. On occasion he strikes a note of criticism of the bumptiousness of our diplomacy , the self-righteous nationalism, and aggressive expansionism, or, as he prefers, "expansiveness." For the most part, however, he writes sympathetically of those who thrust the United States outward. "The children of 1890 have lived to see the United States intimately concerned with maintaining peace in every quarter of the globe. It has been a long and tortuous route to Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, the YaIu River, and the jungles of Vietnam, but the nation set out on this path before the dawn of the twentieth century." "Perhaps the period between our early immaturity and our present sophistication can be considered as an intermediate period. Having fulfilled our manifest destiny of conquering the continent and establishing the stars and stripes from shore to shore, the United States, after 1865, could take greater interest in events beyond those shores." Such statements may explain the resurgence of interest in the late nineteenth century. Similarly, those critics of Pax Americana , who doubt our sophistication, have also found this earlier age instructive. There can be little doubt that the expansionists anticipated the future direction of American diplomacy and helped lead it in that direction . Whether they were "ahead of their time" depends upon how far ahead one means. Ralph Stone Sangamon State University The Transatlantic Persuasion: The Liberal-Democratic Mind in the Age of Ghdsone. By Robert Kelley. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969. Pp. xxiii, 433. $8.95.) Robert Kelley has written an ambitious and significant essay in compar- 278 CIVIL WAR HISTORY ative history. His subject is nineteenth-century liberalism in England and the United States and Canada. Kelley traces its sources to the social plight of dissenters, the economics of Adam Smith, the pragmatism of Edmund Burke, and Thomas Jefferson's distrust of privilege. Liberalism in his portrait was the dissenter's ideology, his protest at the arrogance and the greed, the constant assertiveness and sense of rule byright that established groups—the nobility and church in England, the vvhiggish business aristocracy in the United States—displayed with such unction in their dominion. William Gladstone, the model of this kind of liberalism, is the center of Kelley's study, with Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, and the Canadians George Brown and Alexander Mackenzie his North American examples. The result has much to interest American historians. The main virtue of Kelley's portrait of Tilden and Cleveland is that he forces us to take them seriously as thinkers. They had a view of the world which distinguished them from their adversaries, the Republicans . The Democracy of Tilden and Cleveland saw a corrupt relationship between business and government as the central problem of politics. They believed in executive power as the device to end this corruption . They saw the destruction of government favoritism as the complete triumph of liberty, especially liberty for minorities, who could only be oppressed by any government which did not leave them alone. Powerful leadership to negative ends, governance by veto: this was a coherent ideal of Jeffersonian Democrats which Grover Cleveland put into practice. This is a...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 277-279
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.