Race, conservative politics, and U.S. foreign policy in the postcolonial world, 1948--1968

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Title: Race, conservative politics, and U.S. foreign policy in the postcolonial world, 1948--1968
Author: Ziker, Ann Katherine
Advisor: Boles, John B.
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy thesis
Abstract: This dissertation analyzes the rise of conservatism in American politics from 1948 to 1968, paying special attention to the impact of the civil rights movement and race on postwar political realignments. Unlike previous studies, which have concentrated chiefly on domestic policy issues such as court-ordered desegregation, busing programs, welfare, and taxation, this work focuses on debates over U.S. foreign policy. It considers topics such as the development of an international human rights ideology, the growing force of revolutionary nationalism, and the progress of decolonization to than the emergence of a distinctively conservative vision for American power in the world. As the dissertation argues, a natural symmetry existed between political responses to the African American freedom struggle and views on U.S. foreign relations in a rapidly decolonizing world; civil rights opponents easily projected their beliefs about racial difference into the global arena, and, although many national conservative leaders worked to distance themselves from the open defenders of racial segregation, they unreservedly asserted that the Asian, Arabic, and African residents of newly decolonized states were not entitled to the same rights as Europeans or North Americans. The dissertation thus offers a new interpretation of the role of race in modern conservatism. This study contains three parts: Part I suggests that what traditionally has been called "massive resistance"---the white South's opposition to integration after the 1954 Brown decision---might be better understood as a broader dissent from the emerging global ideology of human rights. Part II uses the Cold War's arrival in Africa to suggest how decolonization fused the politics of race and the politics of U.S. foreign policy, creating common ground for segregationists and national-security conservatives. Part III describes the evolution of a conservative philosophy on American power in the world, which rejected calls to demonstrate sympathy with anticolonial movements and instead advocated unequivocal support for Western Europe and anticommunist states like South Africa. Throughout, the dissertation contends that ostensibly color-blind positions on U.S. foreign policy in reality rested on a narrow, exclusionary interpretation of democratic freedoms and human rights.
Citation: Ziker, Ann Katherine. (2008) "Race, conservative politics, and U.S. foreign policy in the postcolonial world, 1948--1968." Doctoral Thesis, Rice University.
Date: 2008

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