Charles A. Beard and American Foreign Policy

By Thomas C. Kennedy | Go to book overview

5
Formulating a Philosophy of Isolationism, 1931-1935)

AFTER 1930, the deepening of the Great Depression, accompanied by world-wide economic, political, and military instability, was the major force influencing Beard's decision to devote the remainder of his life to advocating what he called a policy of "continental Americanism." His sweepingly revisionist interpretation of America's entrance into World War I fostered, to some degree, a radical departure from his internationalist views of previous decades. Finally, his reflections on the historiographical writings of European historians, begun in the late 1920s, continued to interest him and tended to make him more self-conscious about the relevance of frames of reference, causation, and objectivity in his approach to the study of American history during the 1930s and after. Some reservations might be expressed, however, as to whether Beard's speculations on historical relativism constituted a startling alteration of his earlier notions about the meliorist function of the historian. One may also question whether these reflections necessarily caused him to adopt an isolationist outlook. Carl L. Becker, for example, did not find his own attachment to relativism an impediment to his support of an interventionist role for the United States before 19411

____________________
1
Maurice Mandlebaum, "Causal Analysis in History," pp. 37-39; Harry J. Marks , "Ground under Our Feet: Beard's Relativism"; Whitaker T. Deininger,

-58-

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Charles A. Beard and American Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - The Formative Years, 1874-1904 1
  • 2 - Years of Academic Achievement And Controversy, 1904-1914 15
  • 3 - The War Years, 1914-1919 28
  • 4 - The Peace Settlement to the Great Depression, 1919-1930 40
  • 5 - Formulating a Philosophy Of Isolationism, 1931-1935) 58
  • 6 - Waging the Cause of Neutrality, 1935-1941 78
  • 7 - Beard During World War Ii, 1941-1945 105
  • 8 - The Efforts to Confirm a Thesis, 1945-1948 128
  • 9 - Epilogue 154
  • Appendix 169
  • Bibliography 175
  • Index 193
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