Why Did America Cross the Pacific? Reconstructing the U.S. Decision to Take the Philippines, 1898-99 (November 2017)
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This essay offers a micro-historical reconstruction of a fateful choice made by the United States. Satisfactory reconstructions of this kind are rare. When it comes to historical episodes of import, even those that have been extensively written about and researched, it is often difficult to identify when the critical choices actually occurred. It is even more difficult to reconstruct, with a policymaker’s eye, the information available at the time, the institutional context, and the plausibly available alternative courses of action.