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Title:An American rhetoric of globalism: peace through international economic cooperation in the World War II era
Author(s):Stengrim, Laura Ann
Director of Research:Finnegan, Cara
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Finnegan, Cara; Murphy, John
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Mortensen, Peter; O'Gorman, Ned
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Economic Globalization
World War II Era
Abstract:A rhetoric of globalism compelled Americans during the World War II era to imagine a postwar peace that would depend on individual economic security and global economic interdependence. In a time of radical contingency, globalism emerged as an inventive alternative both to the predominant isolationism that preceded the war and to the Cold War logic that would soon replace it. The project has discursive resonances in our current era of economic globalization, perpetual warfare, and domestic and global income inequality; by contextualizing globalism within America's recent and founding history, and by focusing on the economic aspects of American identity within a globalizing world in a liminal moment, it also offers to the field of rhetorical studies an alternative account of popular, presidential, and institutional discourses in the World War II era. The study takes as its sites of analysis three rhetorical landmarks in the American history of globalization: Wendell Willkie's One World (1943), President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union address, which concluded with an "Economic Bill of Rights" (1944), and the U.S. Congressional debates about the Bretton Woods institutions (1945). Willkie, the failed 1940 Republican presidential candidate, traveled the globe and sometimes served as the President’s proxy, using ethos and presence to encourage Americans to imagine a postwar world that was small and familiar. Roosevelt, via the Economic Bill of Rights, managed Americans' fears by inscribing economic security as a constitutional and universal right, drawing on the language of the nation’s founding and thus positioning the historical moment as one of kairos of the highest order. Congressional supporters and opponents of the Bretton Woods institutions, too, drew on the nation’s history to understand the present moment as radically contingent, using a constitutive rhetoric of economics to institutionalize globalism. Although globalism was quickly overshadowed by the events of the early Cold War, it remains a rhetorical resource in discussions about American identity as it intersects with the global implications of late capitalism.
Issue Date:2016-06-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Laura Ann Stengrim
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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