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Talk by Dr. Charles Delgadillo: “Crusading for Democracy: William Allen White’s Liberal Republican Internationalism”

October 23, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

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The question of America’s role in the world has been fiercely contested for more than a century in the Republican Party. The “isolationists” have argued that American interests were better served by remaining free of foreign entanglements, while the “internationalists” have countered that American peace and prosperity demanded that it play a role in shaping the international order. It is only in recent days, under the leadership of Donald Trump, that Republican isolationists have prevailed over their internationalist opponents in the party.

Charles Delgadillo traces William Allen White’s (1868-1944) trajectory as one of the founding fathers of liberal Republican internationalism.  White achieved national fame with his conservative Emporia Gazette editorial “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” but he quickly evolved into a progressive Republican and later into a New Deal liberal. White fought for an active American role in the world, from his early explorations with the global progressive movement during the 1900s to his efforts to generate public support for the Allies during World War II. The final battle of White’s life was fought to cement the supremacy of internationalism over isolationism in the Republican Party.  White’s role in advancing liberal Republican internationalism, his perception of the isolationist threat, and his colorful life make him a fascinating case study in the age of “America First.”

The event is sponsored by the Center for Cold War Studies and International History and cosponsored by the Department of History.

Charles Delgadillo is an Instructor in History at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He earned his PhD in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2010, and his dissertation examined a cohort of four liberals who grappled with America’s rise as a world power between the World Wars. The work yielded two journal articles and Crusader for Democracy: The Political Life of William Allen White, which is Delgadillo’s first book.





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