Cover: A New Deal for the World in PAPERBACK

A New Deal for the World

America’s Vision for Human Rights

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$36.00 • £31.95 • €32.95

ISBN 9780674025363

Publication Date: 09/30/2007


480 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

30 halftones

Belknap Press


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This is a first-rate work of history. Borgwardt has done extensive research in both Britain and the United States, and her bibliography and references to published materials are staggering… [It] should stand out in contrast to a litany of catastrophes and a smarter-than-they-were dismissal…this rich account of the achievements of some of the greatest minor utopians in the century is just such a work.—John Milton Cooper, American Historical Review

Elizabeth Borgwardt’s fascinating book shows how Roosevelt’s administration projected the lessons of the New Deal onto a global stage by linking individual security (realized though domestic social welfare programmes) with international security (realized by halting aggression and maintaining peace)… Borgwardt skilfully conveys the light and shade of American politics during the years bracketed between the Atlantic conference and the opening of the Nuremberg trial… Whatever the future may hold, A New Deal for the World stands as a valuable and perceptive account of a unique period of American ascendancy, when a combination of pragmatism and idealism inspired the nation to play a decisive role in the history of human rights.—Kirsten Sellars, International Affairs

This is an extraordinarily well-written volume, and Borgwardt should be commended for her enormous contribution to the literature on U.S. diplomatic history and international human rights.—Simon Payaslian, Journal of American History

In August 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met off the coast of Newfoundland to discuss the course of World War II and their ideas for the postwar world. This meeting serves as the departure point for Elizabeth Borgwardt’s absorbing and passionately argued study… [A New Deal for the World] provides a fascinating chronicle of how diplomatic interactions shaped human rights law, and it challenges its readers to think further about this history’s broader significance.—Jason Scott Smith, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

Demonstrates Borgwardt’s familiarity with a wide range of academic disciplines—including political philosophy, international relations, and economics… The strength of her argument is in presenting an official, ‘top-down’ version of the contributions of American foreign policy to the modern international human-rights regime.—Debra DeLaet, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

This beautifully written book sheds new light on the founding moments of post-war international society… [An] excellent and important book.—Alex Bellamy, Political Studies Review

An ambitious, original, and innovative work that argues for the 1940s as a transformative period in international relations, when American public opinion shifted to support a new internationalism. This was not simply the work of liberal, reforming elites but a sea change in the way Americans thought about their place in the world.—Kenneth Cmiel, author of Democratic Eloquence

Elizabeth Borgwardt’s splendid book does much more than remind us of a different American outlook on world affairs. It brilliantly explores the origins of that international outlook in the domestic politics and state-building of New Deal America. In the postwar world, every country’s national security would hinge on international human rights and the establishment of secure political and economic institutions.—William E. Forbath, author of Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement

When Roosevelt and Churchill met in Placentia Bay in 1941 and signed the Atlantic Charter, they created the momentum that led to the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the human rights revolution. This book is a surpassingly readable and reliable study of this founding moment. It is also an inspiring evocation of consummate leadership and political vision.—Michael Ignatieff, author of The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror

Borgwardt’s meticulously researched study shows how a few war-inspired phrases from Churchill and Roosevelt metamorphosed into moral principles that transformed overseas empire and domestic racism from facts of life into scandals demanding attention. Every reader of U.S. history and international relations will have to confront the evidence presented in this learned, surprising, and indispensable book, which demonstrates the profound—and unanticipated—consequences of the ideas of security, justice, and human rights in shaping power politics in the postwar world.—James T. Kloppenberg, author of The Virtues of Liberalism

If you want to understand the origin of modern international rights, read this book. It powerfully and vividly recreates the moment when American leaders contributed the confident experimentalism and legal pragmatism of the New Deal to the challenge of securing a world where all people can live free from fear and want. Borgwardt persuasively demonstrates how ideas shape institutions, aspirations, and world history, and how they bridge the gap between devastating violence and hopes for justice and peace. Now, when the legacies of these institutions are so much under global challenge—and even repudiated at times by American leadership—A New Deal for the World reminds us that this dynamic interaction among words, institutions, and contexts has ripple effects that last long beyond founding moments.—Martha Minow, author of Between Vengeance and Forgiveness

A superb, instructive, and even gripping treatment of America’s role in the development of human rights. Too often, the United States is portrayed as a kind of obstacle to movements for human rights worldwide. Borgwardt sets the record straight, with illuminating and sometimes moving detail.—Cass R. Sunstein, author of Why Societies Need Dissent

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