Progressivism Triumphant? Isaiah Bowman’s New Diplomacy in a New World

  • Lucian M. Ashworth
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan History of International Thought book series (PMHIT)


The geographer Isaiah Bowman was a strong internationalist and a not inconsiderable influence on the foreign policies of presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. A geographer as well as a progressive, he applied a distinctly American interpretation of Lebensraum to the problems of conquest, trade and raw materials. By combining political geography with Wilsonian progressivism, Bowman was able to construct an approach to international affairs that simultaneously accepted geophysical limits on policy, while also arguing that new approaches to global order could mitigate the negative effects of those limits. Bowman’s view of international affairs represents a survival of progressivist ideas, and given the influence of Bowman on later US foreign policy it could be argued that Bowman’s success represents the backdoor triumph of progressivism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucian M. Ashworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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