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The Legacy of J. William FulbrightPolicy, Power, and Ideology$
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Alessandro Brogi, Giles Scott-Smith, and Snyder David J.

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177700

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177700.001.0001

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date: 02 July 2022



(p.1) Introduction
The Legacy of J. William Fulbright

Alessandro Brogi

Giles Scott-Smith

David J. Snyder

University Press of Kentucky

While the ideological inspiration of Woodrow Wilson on American liberal internationalism has been well investigated, less well understood are subsequent influences within the defining ideology of the years of American global ascendancy. Liberal internationalism during the Cold War is often portrayed as a kind of default that arose from idealistic high-mindedness, the novelty of American global experience during World War II, and the bipartisan consensus of sustained anticommunism. However, new scholarship on the career of J. William Fulbright, as well as fresh research on the influence of the Fulbright exchange program overseas, shows the ongoing role of American culture and American political institutions as powerful fashioners of the ideological consensus that defined US foreign policy in these years. These cultural and political influences include a key racial dimension and a prevailing faith in the wisdom of political elites as makers of US foreign policy. Other dimensions of liberal internationalism, including prevailing American gender notions, modernization impulses, and a later critique of American militarism, are evident in Fulbright’s evolving public career, which originated in idealistic support of the United Nations, came to embrace the special mission of the United States in a world of bipolarity, and ended with the senator one of the most vocal critics of a misguided American militarism in Vietnam. The Fulbright exchange program likewise shifted over time in response to many of the same impulses, though, unlike the senator, whose political influence was for long shielded by his electoral invulnerability, it has been vulnerable to shifting political forces both at home and abroad.

Keywords:   Fulbright, Educational exchange, Liberal internationalism, Race, Elitism, US foreign policy

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