Nightmares and awakenings : the Stultitia Affair, corporate nationalism, and the politics of professional diplomacy in the United States, 1906–1913

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Gleb, John Alexander

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At the beginning of the twentieth century, reformers working within the State Department and the American foreign service attempted to place their country’s foreign policymaking machinery under the control of trained professionals. However, the structure of the United States’ democratic political institutions and the existence of a powerful court of public opinion beyond their walls restricted the professionals’ freedom of action. This paper will explore how one of the leaders of the foreign service reform movement, Francis Mairs Huntington Wilson, attempted to reconcile professional diplomacy and American democracy. Between 1906 and 1913, Wilson developed and pursued what I will call a “corporate nationalist” agenda, seeking to create a unified national community within which elite policymakers, ordinary citizens, and their elected representatives would work together in perfect, symbiotic harmony. An extended contextual analysis of Stultitia, a semiautobiographical play Wilson wrote in 1913, will guide my argument and open up a window onto the “thought-world” of one the United States’ first professional foreign policymakers.



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