26 Oct The Empire Fallacy: A New Interpretation of American Foreign Relations From George Washington to Barack Obama
Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman (History, San Diego State University)
Wednesday, October 26 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
In this talk, Professor Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman challenges the assumption that America is an empire. Rather, it acts as an arbiter and enforcer in a world system where goals and rules are increasingly universal. Over the past three centuries, most nations have become republics and many democracies. Almost all have embraced free market economic policies in some form. After World War II, numerous voluntary pacts prohibited conquest and placed limits on the right of states to abuse their populations. The primary challenge to nationalism lay no longer in imperialism but in universalism. The U.S. did not cause these changes, Professor Hoffman argues, but it hastened them. The global role toward which it gravitated was rooted in domestic American experience, where the historical tension between states’ rights and federal authority prefigured the later tension between state sovereignty and supranational authority.
Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman is Dwight E. Stanford Professor of American Foreign Relations at San Diego State University. She is the author of The Rich Neighbor Policy: Kaiser and Rockefeller in Brazil (Yale, 1992) and All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s (Harvard, 2000). Her first book won the Allan Nevins Prize from the Organization of American Historians and the Stuart Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Professor Hoffman is now completing a book, for Harvard University Press, on U.S. foreign relations since 1776.
Sponsored by the Center for Cold War Studies and the International History Project.