Thomas Zeiler is Professor of Diplomatic History at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has authored numerous books on U.S. diplomacy and globalization, including American Trade and Power (1992), Free Trade, Free World: The Advent of GATT (1999), Dean Rusk (2000), Globalization and the American Century (2003), and Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, and the End of World War II (2004).
In the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump made trade great again. That is, they reminded us that international trade policy, and particularly the American foreign commercial agenda, is as relevant today as it was in the nineteenth century, the last half of which is the era of focus for historian Marc-William Palen. The timing is striking. China has replaced European nations as competitors, and monetary manipulation and dumping rather than tariffs are the bete noires today. Yet contemporary protectionists are a throwback to expressions of economic nationalism last heard by a majority of politicians in the decades following the American Civil War. Protectionism guided American trade policies until the Great Depression, when freer (though still cautious) commercial relations traded places with the nationalism that had shaped the United States for its first century and a half.
The “Conspiracy” of Free Trade (the conspiracy a claim by American protectionists based in the Republican Party that British free traders were secretly trying to hinder U.S. prosperity at home and expansion abroad) is a corrective to decades of historiography that laissez-faire doctrine guided the Gilded Age. On the contrary, Palen’s sophisticated look into Anglo-American dialogue and domestic political maneuverings show that “ideological conflict between free traders and economic nationalists laid the imperial path for Anglo-American economic globalization” (xvi). His archival research is solid, though far surpassed by the extensive treatment of periodical and secondary sources; Palen has mined seemingly every commentary on the half century he covers. The author also lays out a simple binary of ideological visions – Cobdenite cosmopolitanism (the free traders) and a Listian nationalism (the protectionists) – that effectively expands the grand debate over the tariff into an even grander one over imperialism (and, in today’s terms, globalization). Continue reading “Zeiler on Palen, The “Conspiracy” of Free Trade”→
Considering a PhD in the interconnected fields of World, Global, Colonial, and Imperial History? The University of Exeter is pleased to offer a variety of funding opportunities.
Exeter’s History Department is ranked top 5 in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, top 10 in all major UK university league tables for the subject, top 50 in worldwide rankings for History (QS World University Rankings 2016), and 8th in the UK for world-leading research.
The University of Exeter has two research centres in the broad field of world history: the Centre of Imperial and Global History (led by Professor Richard Toye), and the Centre for War, State and Society (led by Professor Martin Thomas). Both offer internationally-recognised supervision with geographical coverage from 30 staff across African, Asian (including Chinese), North American, Latin American, Eastern & Central European history from early-modern to contemporary eras. We also have close links with the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies Centre for coverage of Middle Eastern history. Both Centres have strong inter-disciplinary links across the humanities and social sciences. The Centres have particular research interests in:
Trump’s election is an equivocal ‘victory for white supremacy’, and justified cause for fear to circulate among people of Colour living in Anglo-dominated nations. Yet history has seen other global upsurges in nationalist white supremacism, other times when fear and hope have made strange but productive bedfellows.
The 19th Century was the trans-imperial ‘age of mobility’. And it saw Melbourne become home to heterogeneous populations. By the time the Australian colonies united as a ‘white nation’ in 1901, a long history of migration connected Melbourne with global locales, from Punjab to Karachi, Canton to Hong Kong, Leicester to Oslo.
Not only did Chinese migrants spread from southern provinces of Canton across the Pacific Rim, but so too did Indians, Afghans and Syrians migrate across borders internal to what is today known as South Asia. This included those highly permeable borders that demarcated Syria (part of the Ottoman Empire), the Emirate of Afghanistan (a buffer between the Russian and British Empires) and India (part of the British Empire). Many also ended up in Melbourne, the capital city of the Australian colony of Victoria. Continue reading “The Contradictions of White Nationalism in a Global Age: Lessons from Early 20th Century Melbourne”→
Paul Doolan Zurich International School and the University of Konstanz
Last month the academic year commenced at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) with speakers celebrating diversity and internationalism. Ironically, the audience in the auditorium was almost entirely white. In Amsterdam the majority of school age children come from migrant backgrounds, yet the university has an overwhelmingly white faculty that lectures to an overwhelmingly white student body. Most remarkable is the widely held attitude that this is not a problem.
As a historian interested in the roots of Eurocentrism and the legacies of imperialism, I would suggest that such an attitude is linked to the failure in teaching imperial history in the Netherlands. Through eight decades since the eviction of the Dutch from Indonesia, Dutch historians have consistently abdicated their responsibility by refusing to properly teach the public about the nature of Dutch rule in the former Dutch East Indies and, in particular, the nature of Dutch warmaking during the final years of the Asian colony, 1945-1949.Continue reading “Decolonizing Dutch History”→
On 29 October 1956, Israeli forces launched an attack on Egypt. The following day Britain and France quickly issued an ultimatum to both sides to stop fighting. There was no compliance and, on 5 November, Anglo-French forces invaded Egypt in order to ‘separate the combatants’. The operation was a military success – and a catastrophic political failure.
For Britain and France’s actions had been based on a lie, and a pretty see-through one at that. The real motivation was to overthrow Egypt’s President Nasser, who just over three months earlier had nationalised the Suez Canal Company. In Paris and London, this was seen as a threat to Western Europe’s oil supply and to international order more generally. Initial efforts to get Nasser to ‘disgorge’ what he had seized, via diplomacy backed by coded threats, were unsuccessful.
Dwight Eisenhower, running for re-election to the White House on a platform of peace and prosperity, was not willing to back the use of force, and his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was similarly cautious. Both men might have been willing to turn a blind eye to a spot of old-fashioned colonial atavism if the British and French had simply got on with it and launched an attack. Yet British Prime Minister Anthony Eden had a reputation to protect as an internationalist and a man of peace. To the frustration of his French allies, there was delay after delay as he looked for a pretext for action that would both allow him to destroy Nasser and to satisfy world opinion. Continue reading “Sixty Years after Suez”→