This intensively researched volume covers a previously neglected aspect of American history: the foreign policy perspective of the peace progressives, a bloc of dissenters in the U.S. Senate, between 1913 and 1935. The Peace Progressives and American Foreign Relations is the first full-length work to focus on these senators during the peak of their collective influence. Robert David Johnson shows that in formulating an anti-imperialist policy, the peace progressives advanced the left-wing alternative to the Wilsonian agenda.
The experience of World War I, and in particular Wilson’s postwar peace settlement, unified the group behind the idea that the United States should play an active world role as the champion of weaker states. Senators Asle Gronna of North Dakota, Robert La Follette and John Blaine of Wisconsin, and William Borah of Idaho, among others, argued that this anti-imperialist vision would reconcile American ideals not only with the country’s foreign policy obligations but also with American economic interests. In applying this ideology to both inter-American and European affairs, the peace progressives emerged as the most powerful opposition to the business-oriented internationalism of the decade’s Republican administrations, while formulating one of the most comprehensive critiques of American foreign policy ever to emerge from Congress.