By Tony Smith
The power and status of democracy all over the world on the finish of the 20 th century are due in solid degree to the effect of the United States on foreign affairs, argues Tony Smith. the following for the 1st time is a e-book that files the extreme heritage of yank overseas coverage with appreciate to the merchandising of democracy around the globe, an attempt whose maximum triumph got here within the occupations of Japan and Germany yet whose setbacks contain interventions in Latin the United States and Vietnam.
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Extra info for America's Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century
So too, Germany might well have become a democracy even without the American occupation after 1945, though the character of its political order without Allied supervision might have made it less liberal than it is today, and the pace of European economic integration might have been altogether slower, with dramatic consequences for political stability on the continent. By contrast, Japanese democracy bears a more indelible American mark due to General Douglas MacArthur’s assertive role in the establishment of its postwar order.
It was different when the United States occupied Japan and Germany to promote democracy in 1945. But the men and women who undertook this mission were not liberal democrats of the traditional American sort. Instead, many of them were New Dealers, for whom the prerequisites of democracy included strong labor unions, land reform, welfare legislation, notions of racial equality, and government intervention in the economy. Moreover, they had the good fortune to be working with societies that already had centralized political institutions, diversified industrial economies, and (at least in Germany) many convinced democrats awaiting deliverance from fascism and communism alike.
The United States lacked the heritage of a centralized state that the tradition of a monarchy might have given it. And the early embrace of democracy (along with the expanding frontier and the competition among successive waves of immigrants) weakened the appeal of socialism, the other political creed to call for a strong state relative to society. Thus, in theory as well as in fact, the distinguishing mark of American liberal democracy (even by comparison with other liberal democracies) has been a state limited by strongly organized social forces acting through freely organized political parties.
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