Reading notes--Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings, pp. 1-111.

A general question to keep in mind as you go through the text--why was this book assigned for a class in foreign relations?


pp. 1-7: Read closely. Does Rodgers overstate the importance of ideas in politics? What does he mean by a transatlantic social politics, and an Atlantic Era? What is the Atlantic World? How did the development of this state of affairs change the relationship between the US and Europe?

Chapter One

skim to page 15--get a sense of what Rodgers is describing; read 15-20 closely. He makes some interesting points here on the importance of image, but to what extent does he read too much into his evidence from pp. 15-17? PP 17-20 are critical to his overall argument.

pp. 20-25: this can be skimmed; the section provides a background to the development of a philosophy of social politics. Read only the last paragraph of the section closely.

pp. 25-32: read more closely. To what extent were the problems facing the US similar to those of Europe? Rodgers here provides another example of the challenges to anti-expansionism about which I was talking in class Thursday, with his discussion of the emerging intellectual ties between Americans and Europeans.

Chapter Two

This chapter is a much more important one than chapter one; budget your time accordingly.

pp. 33-47: read closely to get a better understanding of the importance of mutual images of the US and Europe. This is a theme to which we wil be returning several times over the course of the term.

pp. 47-52: skim. You can get a sense of his argument by reading the last par. just before the "progressive politics" header.

pp. 52-75: very important. What does DR mean by "progressive"?

pp. 62-70: interesting commentary on how Americans at the time learned of the outside world--think of May's "foreign policy elite." To what extent did the vehicles through which Americans viewed Europe produce a distorted view?

Chapter Three

pp. 77-80: summary of laissez faire philosophy--breeze through it

pp. 80-101: this section can be skimmed unless you have an interest in economic or educational history

pp. 101-111: more important. Do you buy DR's argument on the effect of German ideas in the US? Ideas about the role of the state are particularly relevant here--this tension between foreign policy and Americans' traditional preference for a weaker national government is a recurrent theme of the course.