The Education of an Anti-Imperialist: Robert La Follette and U.S. Expansion
Robert M. La Follette (1855–1925), the Republican senator from Wisconsin, is best known as a key architect of American Progressivism and as a fiery advocate for liberal politics in the domestic sphere. But "Fighting Bob" did not immediately come to a progressive stance on foreign affairs. In The Education of an Anti-Imperialist, Richard Drake follows La Follette's growth as a critic of America's wars and the policies that led to them. He began his political career with conventional Republican views of the era on foreign policy, avidly supporting the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. La Follette's critique of empire emerged in 1910, during the first year of the Mexican Revolution, as he began to perceive a Washington–Wall Street alliance in the United States' dealings with Mexico. La Follette subsequently became Congress's foremost critic of Woodrow Wilson, fiercely opposing United States involvement in World War I. Denounced in the American press as the most dangerous man in the country, he became hated and vilified by many but beloved and admired by others. La Follette believed that financial imperialism and its necessary instrument, militarism, caused modern wars. He contended they were twin evils that would have ruinous consequences for the United States and its citizens in the twentieth century and beyond.
“An excellent book. . . . As Drake fully documents, La Follette's warnings about [World War I] profiteers and the lust for power were fully justified. Then as now, the American people were lied to by the government and media and manipulated into the stink and blood of war."—Mark Taylor, The Daily Call
“Scholars will . . . value the insights into La Follette's foreign policy education.”—The Historian
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1 Formative Influences
2 Robert La Follette and the SpanishAmerican War
La Follette and the Subjugation of the Philippines
The View from the Campaign Trail and the State House
5 The Awakening of La Follette as a Critic of American Foreign Policy
6 The Wilson Era Begins
7 The Battle for Neutrality in World War I to the War Loan of 1915
Peacemaking or War Making?
13 La Follette Discovers the Middle East
14 The Aftermath of Versailles
15 The 1920 Campaign and the Harding Administration to the Washington Armament Conference
16 The Harding Administration and Oil
17 The Shock of the German Tragedy and the Revelations in Russia
18 The Return to the United States
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