The Epistemic Origins of American Empire

The Epistemic Origins of American Empire

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The evidence I present is at variance with other explanations of late-nineteenth-century foreign policy adjustment. I found that politicians or qprinciples, q followed an imperial program developed by subordinate state actors. American Political Development (APD) scholarship suggests possibilities for such an outcome. One explanation is Daniel Carpenter's theory of bureaucratic capacity which notes how late-nineteenth-century state actors were able to advance new domestic proposals once they had demonstrated the value of their programs to the public. I apply Carpenter's theory to American strategic adjustment. My findings indicate that state actors established autonomy, capacity, and altered the direction of U.S. foreign policy without demonstrating the value of their program. Strategic adjustment was possible, I argue, because state actors functioned as an epistemic community that achieved political support by monopolizing specialty knowledge during a period of technological uncertainty.Historical objectivity became the new term upon which reform essays were to be judged. For example, the topic of the 1882 essay, a€œOur Merchant Marine: The Causes of Its Decline and the Means to be Taken for Its Revivala€ ... Character of People; and (VI) Character of Government.357 For the first time, a systematic, historical argument assessing the requirements for naval greatness was fully developed.

Title:The Epistemic Origins of American Empire
Author:Douglas Mark Haugen
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007


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