Wilsonian Approaches to American Conflicts: From the War of 1812 to the First Gulf War, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Wilsonian Approaches to American Conflicts

From the War of 1812 to the First Gulf War, 1st Edition

By Ashley Cox


190 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138226692
pub: 2017-06-02
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pub: 2017-07-14
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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.


"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

Table of Contents


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

About the Author

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.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy

This new series sets out to publish high quality works by leading and emerging scholars critically engaging with United States Foreign Policy. The series welcomes a variety of approaches to the subject and draws on scholarship from international relations, security studies, international political economy, foreign policy analysis and contemporary international history.

Subjects covered include the role of administrations and institutions, the media, think tanks, ideologues and intellectuals, elites, transnational corporations, public opinion, and pressure groups in shaping foreign policy, US relations with individual nations, with global regions and global institutions and America’s evolving strategic and military policies.

The series aims to provide a range of books – from individual research monographs and edited collections to textbooks and supplemental reading for scholars, researchers, policy analysts, and students.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / Korean War
HISTORY / Military / Persian Gulf War (1991)
HISTORY / Military / Strategy
HISTORY / Military / World War I
HISTORY / Military / United States
HISTORY / Military / War of 1812
HISTORY / United States / General
HISTORY / United States / 19th Century
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General