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The Empire TrapThe Rise and Fall of U.S. Intervention to Protect American Property Overseas, 1893-2013$
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Noel Maurer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155821

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155821.001.0001

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Escaping by Accident

Escaping by Accident

Chapter:
Six Escaping by Accident
Source:
The Empire Trap
Author(s):

Noel Maurer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691155821.003.0006

This chapter demonstrates how the Great Depression allowed Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt to pull back from Theodore Roosevelt's imperial commitment. The Depression facilitated the end of the first American empire by breaking up the coalition between creditors and direct investors. Under Depression conditions, however, governments faced a painful bind: they could maintain payments on their foreign debt at the cost of austerity measures that undermined political stability; or they could impose tax hikes that directly influenced the profitability of foreign direct investments; or they could default. In the battle between bondholders and direct investors, the direct investors won: the Depression had devastated the domestic influence of the financiers.

Keywords:   Great Depression, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, American empire, creditors, direct investors, foreign debt, political stability

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