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The Commoner As Nation-Builder: The Aggressive And Active Foreign Policy of William Jennings Bryan

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Miller, Reed; Miller, Reed
Date: 2008
Agency:
Series:
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4079
Sector: Social Organization
History
Region: North America
Subject(s): nationalism
foreign policy
democracy
treaties
global commons
Abstract: "The purpose of this book is to examine the foreign policy ideas of American statesman William Jennings Bryan. It is a straight history, and the purpose of straight history about a single person and the players around that person is to learn everything that influenced the one person's thinking and decisions, and then compare the thinking and decisions to other people in history. Bryan was a leader of the Populist and Progressive movements in the United States from the turn of the 20th Century until 1925. Consequently, he often is identified with domestic reforms. Bryan advocated policies such as: prohibition, women's suffrage, a graduated income tax, the direct election of senators, government ownership of railroads and telegraph systems, the initiative and referendum, and limits of one term in office for the President and Vice President. Historians have written little about his foreign policy beliefs in comparison with his ideas on domestic reform, however. In large part, this seems due to the fact that he negotiated 30 arbitration treaties as Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. Historians have assumed him to be a strict pacifist because of the arbitration agreements, and argued that he offered the United States no realistic means of accomplishing its foreign policy goals. Bryan's foreign policy ideas have been portrayed as idealistic at best, so many historians have not taken that much of an interest in them."

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