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Why Wilson MattersThe Origin of American Liberal Internationalism and Its Crisis Today$
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Tony Smith Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183480

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183480.001.0001

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Wilsonianism: The Construction of an American Vernacular

Wilsonianism: The Construction of an American Vernacular

(p.147) Chapter Five Wilsonianism: The Construction of an American Vernacular
Why Wilson Matters

Tony Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the achievements of Wilsonianism. The Bretton Woods system that integrated the world's market economies; the occupations of Japan and Germany that democratized them; the Marshall Plan that proved basic to the economic foundation of what is now called the European Union (EU); the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that established the world's longest-lasting voluntary system of collective security—here were the greatest initiatives in the realization of the Wilsonian vision, indeed the greatest moments in the entire history of American foreign policy. All of these initiatives had their roots in a liberal international conviction, and became, thanks to Wilson, a part of the vernacular of American power. At its roots was the conviction that the spread of democracy could change the character of world politics in the direction of a lasting peace. It was thus America's mission to assume the role of leading history in a progressive direction.

Keywords:   Wilsonianism, Bretton Woods system, Germany, Japan, Marshall Plan, European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, collective security, American foreign policy, liberal internationalism

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