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date: 19 August 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Most comparative studies of the British and American empires focus on the pre-1945 British Empire and the post-1945 American Empire. The tendency to avoid contemporaneous studies of the two empires suggests that there may be more differences than similarities between them, particularly when examining their imperial trade policies from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. For those studies attempting such comparisons, the so-called Open Door Empire of the United States is commonly depicted as having copied the free-trade imperial policies of its estranged motherland by the turn of the century. Such studies then assert that these imitative imperial policies reached new Anglo-Saxonist heights following US colonial Caribbean and Pacific acquisitions from the Spanish Empire in 1898, followed closely by the fin-de-siècle Anglo-American ‘Great Rapprochement’. This chapter challenges this imitative imperial narrative by bringing to light the contrasting ways in which the American Empire grew in the shadow of the British Empire.

Keywords: United States, Empire, decolonization, economics, free trade, protectionism, dependency, imperialism, exceptionalism, finance

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