By Tony Smith
The energy and status of democracy all over the world on the finish of the 20 th century are due in reliable degree to the impression of the USA on overseas affairs, argues Tony Smith. right here for the 1st time is a booklet that files the intense historical past of yankee overseas coverage with admire to the merchandising of democracy around the world, an attempt whose maximum triumph got here within the occupations of Japan and Germany yet whose setbacks contain interventions in Latin the United States and Vietnam.
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Extra resources for America's Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century
It had been about insuring the unity of the nation, so strengthening immeasurably the forces of liberal democracy worldwide. It had been about the definition The Struggle for Democracy ⅐ 21 of property, so that even if labor organization in the aftermath of the war proved exceedingly difficult to legitimate, property rights would never be defined as narrowly as they had been when slavery was defended by law. It had been about the character of democracy, so that even if the provisions of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments designed to make AfricanAmericans first-class citizens had been flagrantly denied in practice, the principle had been established for a later generation to build on.
Even the seeds of aristocracy were never planted,” Toqueville continues: There society acts by and for itself. There are no authorities except within itself; one can hardly meet anybody who would dare to conceive, much less to suggest, seeking power elsewhere. The people take part in the making of the laws by choosing the lawgivers, and they share in their application by electing the agents The Struggle for Democracy ⅐ 17 of the executive power; one might say that they govern themselves, so feeble and restricted is the part left to the administration, so vividly is that administration aware of its popular origin, and obedient to the fount of power.
The result for others is a paradoxical form of “conservative radicalism”: radical in that for many countries, democracy has meant an abrupt and basic political change away from the narrow-based authoritarian governments with which these people are familiar; conservative in that in fundamental ways, the Americans have not meant to disturb the traditional social power relations based on property ownership. Here was the genius, and also the tragedy, of the American sponsorship of democracy abroad: it was genuinely innovative politically, but it was not profoundly upsetting socioeconomically.
America's Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century by Tony Smith