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Sectoral Conflict and Foreign Economic Policy, 1914-1940

Jeff Frieden
International Organization
Vol. 42, No. 1, The State and American Foreign Economic Policy (Winter, 1988), pp. 59-90
Published by: MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2706770
Page Count: 32
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Sectoral Conflict and Foreign Economic Policy, 1914-1940
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Abstract

The foreign economic policy of the United States in the interwar period was closely tied to domestic political struggle between domestic economic actors with conflicting interests in the international economy, and thus different foreign economic policy preferences. After World War I, many U.S. banks and corporations saw great opportunities for overseas expansion, and fought for U.S. foreign economic policy to be assertively "internationalistic." Other U.S. corporations saw the world economy primarily as a competitive threat and fought for protection and "isolation." Through the 1920s and early 1930s, the two broad coalitions battled to dominate foreign economic policy. The result was an uneasy stand-off in which the two camps entrenched themselves in different portions of the state apparatus, so that policy often ran on two tracks and was sometimes internally contradictory. Only the crisis of the 1930s and the eventual destruction of most of America's overseas competitors led to an "internationalist" victory that allowed for the construction of the American-led post-World War II international political economy.

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