1st Edition

Wilsonian Approaches to American Conflicts From the War of 1812 to the First Gulf War

By Ashley Cox Copyright 2017
    196 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    196 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores US foreign policy, specifically the history of America’s entry into the War of 1812, the First World War, the Korean War and the First Gulf War. Using a historical case study approach, it demonstrates how the Wilsonian Framework can give us a unique understanding of why the United States chose to go to war in those four conflicts.

    Cox argues that the Wilsonian Framework is an important concern for decision makers in the US and that democracy promotion and the concept of international law are driving factors in each of these decisions to go to war. The realist and economic explanations of these conflicts are not sufficient and we must draw on Wilsonianism to gain a clear understanding of these conflicts. Drawing on the history of American liberalism and the work of Walter Russel Mead and Tony Smith, the book presents a definition of Wilsonianism that represents a broad span of the history of The Republic, in order to show consistency across time. It also establishes why the realist and economic explanations fail to provide sufficient explanatory power and how the Wilsonian Framework can give important insights into these conflicts.

    This book will be of interest to international historians and international relations scholars at both postgraduate and scholar level. It will also be of use to those wishing to conduct future research into the motivations that drive the foreign and security policies of the United States.


    Chapter One: A Wilsonian Interpretation

    Chapter Two: The First World War

    Chapter Three: The War of 1812

    Chapter Four: The Korean War

    Chapter Five: The Gulf War

    Chapter Six: Conclusion


    Ashley Cox is a Lecturer in Diplomacy and Public Policy in the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London. His research interests focus on US diplomacy, foreign and defence policy both contemporary and historical. He is a member of BISA, the US Foreign Policy Working Group, the Learning and Teaching Working Group, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the British Association for American Studies.

    "This meticulous analysis is a welcome restoration of balance in the debates about Woodrow Wilson’s legacy. He locates Wilsons’s theories and practices in a consistent pattern starting with the War of 1812 and enduring through the Gulf wars. Cox explains how the fractious politics about the origins of America’s role in the world illuminates contemporary distortions about democracy and rules-based world orders that also shed light on realism’s limitations." - Linda B. Miller, Professor of Political Science, Emerita, Wellesley College, USA

    "Cox’s research cleverly adds to the debate on US entry into a series of conflicts throughout US history. It suggests we have to consider Wilsonian explanations to these engagements as well economic and strategic ones. The end-product is a much richer understanding of why the US engages in conflict." - Matthew Alan Hill, Liverpool John Moores University, UK