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Financial Missionaries to the World establishes the broad scope and significance of dollar diplomacy - the use of international lending and advising - to early-twentieth-century US foreign policy. Combining diplomatic, ecomic, and cultural history, distinguished historian Emily S. Rosenberg shows how private bank loans were extended to leverage acceptance of American financial advisers by foreign governments. In an analysis striking in its relevance to contemporary debates over international loans, she reveals how a practice initially justified as a progressive means to extend civilization by promoting ecomic stability and progress became embroiled in controversy. Vocal critics at home and abroad charged that American loans and financial oversight constituted a new imperialism that fostered exploitation of less powerful nations. By the mid-1920s, she explains, even early supporters of dollar diplomacy worried that, by facilitating excessive borrowing, the practice might induce the very instability and default that it supposedly worked against.
Emily S. Rosenberg is DeWitt Wallace Professor of History at Macalester College. She is the author of A Date Which Will Live: Pearl Harbor in American Memory (also published by Duke University Press) and Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945. She is coauthor of In Our Times: America since World War II and Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People.