Based on a thorough examination of government documents, congressional debates and reports, private papers of government and business leaders, and newspapers, David M. Pletcher begins this monumental study with a comprehensive survey of U.S. trade following the Civil War. He goes on to outline the problems of building a coherent trade policy toward Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. The study concludes by analyzing a series of abortive trade reform efforts and examining the effects of the Spanish-American War. Pletcher rejects the long-held belief that American business and government engaged in a deliberate, consistent drive for economic hegemony in the hemisphere during the late 18OOs. Instead he finds that the American government improvised and experimented with ways to further trade expansion.
David M. Pletcher is the author of several books, including The Diplomacy of Involvement: American Economic Expansion across the Pacific, 1784-1900 (University of Missouri Press) and The Diplomacy of Annexation: Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War. He received the Albert J. Beveridge Award from the American Historical Association and is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University in Bloomington.