THE “GREAT RAPPROCHEMENT”
Evidently, the Anglo-Saxon is doing for the modern world what
the ancient Greek did for the ancient.
—Josiah Strong, 1893
America for Americans, and to hell with Britain and her Tories.
—Senator “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman (D-AL), 1896
We are apart, and a great part, of the Greater Britain which
seems plainly destined to dominate this planet.
—The New York Times, June 24, 1897
What is our next duty?
It is to establish and to maintain bonds of permanent amity with
our kinsmen across the Atlantic.
There is a powerful anda generous nation. They speak our
language. They are bred of our race.
Their laws, their literature, their standpoint upon every question
are the same as ours.
Colonial Secretary, Birmingham, May 13, 1899
AS I SUGGESTED IN THE INTRODUCTION, the Anglosphere developed gradually, across oceans and over centuries. Yet all genealogies must begin somewhere in the recorded history. This story begins in the 1890s, a time when Britain and the United States were, in Stephen Rock's memorable words, “almost destined to be enemies.”1 Instead of the inevitable enmity, what occurred was the “great rapprochement.”2 What is puzzling here is not the rapprochement itself: A cursory look at the contemporary alliances, pacts, condominiums and spheres of influence suggests that many imperial projects were simultaneously competitive and cooperative, varying by the period, region, and issue area. Rather, it is the depth, consistency, and quality of the Anglo-American cooperation. Consider a brief transhemispheric comparison of the politics among empires. As a