Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Imperialism and Expansionism in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Imperialism and Expansionism in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection

Article excerpt

Imperialism and Expansionism in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection. Edited by Chris J. Magoc and David Bernstein. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2016. 4 vols. Acid free $415.00 (ISBN 978-1-61069-429-2). E-Book available (9781-61069-430-8), call for pricing.

From the genesis of the concept of manifest destiny in the 1840s, through the attainment of statehood for Alaska and Hawaii in 1959, and up to the present day as the world's lone superpower, the locomotive that is our nation has barreled down the twin rails of physical growth and world influence. Powerful, but not omnipotent, America has also learned some hard lessons in playing the role of global policeman. As the editors state in their preface, this work "was conceived partly in response to increased attention to the costs and consequences of American interventionist policies and the nation's position as the world's dominant military force" (xvii). This four-volume set also fills a gap in the reference literature regarding the territorial expansion of the United States, as virtually nothing else has heretofore been published on this specific topic.

Contents are broadly arranged chronologically, from the section entitled "Seven Years' War to the Annexation of Hawai'i" beginning volume 1, up through "The Lone Superpower, 1990-2014," which concludes volume 4. Within each section, representing discrete historical periods of expansion and influence, topics appear in standard alphabetical order. The reader will find biographical sketches of major actors (Ottawa Chief Pontiac, President Andrew Jackson); statements of principle (Monroe Doctrine); wars and rebellions (Spanish-American/Philippine-American Wars); concepts (Dollar Diplomacy, Good Neighbor Policy); legislation (McKinley Tariff Act of 1890); events (Iran-Contra Scandal [1985-1987]); and even discussions concerning aspects of so-called cultural imperialism, such as the influence that American music, movies, and mass media have on foreign populations. The entries are signed by their respective writers and conclude with "see also" cross-references and a short further reading list of pertinent sources. Additionally, each section opens with a three- to four-page narrative historical overview that helps to place the topics of the individual articles into their proper context. …

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