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Boundaries of the State In Us History$
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James T. Sparrow, William J. Novak, and Stephen W. Sawyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226277646

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226277813.001.0001

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Rumors of Empire: Tracking the Image of Britain at the Dawn of the American Century

Rumors of Empire: Tracking the Image of Britain at the Dawn of the American Century

Chapter:
(p.101) Four Rumors of Empire: Tracking the Image of Britain at the Dawn of the American Century
Source:
Boundaries of the State In Us History
Author(s):

James T. Sparrow

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226277813.003.0004

In its pursuit of globalism during and after WWII, the United States abandoned foundational political traditions by entering an “entangling alliance” with Great Britain, and then supplanting its Empire through tutelage, emulation and competitive displacement. Within the decade, the US becane the very thing against which it had been defined since the Revolution. This chapter examines the ways in which American political discourse at all levels---from high policy debates and propaganda to public opinion and everyday rumor---accommodated this new US role, ironically authorizing a vast new extraterritorial state through arguments couched within an anti-imperial imaginary. Well beyond the confines of the “special relationship,” the American Century rested on the institutions of this offshore state, which in turn had to be justified to voters, taxpayers, and families of servicemen. Consequently, conceptual boundaries drawn between “America” and “the world,” “republic” and “empire,” helped authorize this new state-building, precisely to the extent that they were deployed through anti-imperialist arguments over particular wartime and early postwar commitments.

Keywords:   extraterritorial sovereignty, Lend-Lease, Bretton Woods, British Loan 1946, antitrust, Imperial Chemical Industries, American Century, psych war, surveillance, Anglophobia

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