The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

in Making the American Century

Published in print March 2014 | ISBN: 9780199845392
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199365104 | DOI:
The Sincerest Form of Flattery

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Through the prism of two international developments—the emergence of the international volunteer movement and the forging of the Helsinki principles—Cobbs Hoffman shows that Americans and Western Europeans continuously nudged one another towards new practices, although they were not always aware of their own borrowing. Regarding the Peace Corps, sometimes viewed as quintessentially American in its aspirations and naïveté, Cobbs Hoffman explains its relationship to British and Australian predecessors. Regarding the Helsinki Accords, Hoffman examines how German and French leaders pushed the United States further in the direction of principles that it had been earliest to espouse. Liberal internationalism and “Wilsonianism” were not simply American exports, but rather global trends. Particularly during the Vietnam era, other nations were sometimes ahead of the United States on these principles and pulled it along. An international context increasingly shaped the political culture of the United States and its closest allies.

Keywords: Wilsonianism; Helsinki Accords; Peace Corps; liberal internationalism

Chapter.  6234 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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