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A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights Hardcover – November 21, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0674018747 ISBN-10: 0674018745 Edition: First Edition (US) First Printing

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (November 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674018745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674018747
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,185,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Elizabeth Borgwardt's fascinating book shows how Roosevelt's administration projected the lessons of the New Deal onto a global stage by linking individual security (realized though domestic social welfare programmes) with international security (realized by halting aggression and maintaining peace)...Borgwardt skilfully conveys the light and shade of American politics during the years bracketed between the Atlantic conference and the opening of the Nuremberg trial...Whatever the future may hold, A New Deal for the world stands as a valuable and perceptive account of a unique period of American ascendancy, when a combination of pragmatism and idealism inspired the nation to play a decisive role in the history of human rights. (Kirsten Sellars International Affairs)

In August 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met off the coast of Newfoundland to discuss the course of World War II and their ideas for the postwar world. This meeting serves as the departure point for Elizabeth Borgwardt's absorbing and passionately argued study...[A New Deal for the World] provides a fascinating chronicle of how diplomatic interactions shaped human rights law, and it challenges its readers to think further about this history's broader significance. (Jason Scott Smith Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 2007-01-01)

This is an extraordinarily well-written volume, and Borgwardt should be commended for her enormous contribution to the literature on U.S. diplomatic history and international human rights. (Simon Payaslian Journal of American History 2006-09-01)

This beautifully written book sheds new light on the founding moments of post-war international society...[An] excellent and important book. (Alex Bellamy Political Studies Review 2006-09-01)

Demonstrates Borgwardt’s familiarity with a wide range of academic disciplines—including political philosophy, international relations, and economics...The strength of her argument is in presenting an official, “top-down” version of the contributions of American foreign policy to the modern international human-rights regime. (Debra DeLaet Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2007-09-01)

This is a first-rate work of history. Borgwardt has done extensive research in both Britain and the United States, and her bibliography and references to published materials are staggering...[It] should stand out in contrast to a litany of catastrophes and a smarter-than-they-were dismissal...this rich account of the achievements of some of the greatest minor utopians in the century is just such a work. (John Milton Cooper American Historical Review)


Borgwardt's meticulously researched study shows how a few war-inspired phrases from Churchill and Roosevelt metamorphosed into moral principles that transformed overseas empire and domestic racism from facts of life into scandals demanding attention. Every reader of U.S. history and international relations will have to confront the evidence presented in this learned, surprising, and indispensable book, which demonstrates the profound--and unanticipated--consequences of the ideas of security, justice, and human rights in shaping power politics in the postwar world. (James T. Kloppenberg, author of The Virtues of Liberalism)

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By George Cotkin on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A NEW DEAL FOR THE WORLD is an excellent and timely book, incisive in analysis and gracefully written. It demonstrates how the imperatives of the New Deal and expanded outward into international affairs. Beginning with the Atlantic Charter (1941), Borgwardt captures the idealistic aspects of that document, while also indicating how American ideals and policy have worked in the postwar world - sometimes with good, sometimes with problematic aspects. Borgwardt stresses the importance of ideas, and she anchors her work in political and foreign policy history. She is learned on all counts. A must read for anyone interested in the issue of America and Human Rights.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Philip Mayor on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Engaging, erudite, and thorough, "A New Deal" is an excellent read. At heart, it is a clever and deft history of the building of the post WWII world order and the founding moment of the modern human rights movement. Borgwardt views this momentous historical moment through the lens of Roosevelt's New Deal. She details in turn the founding of each of the three pillars of the post WWII world order (the Nuremberg trials, the Bretton Woods agreements, and the U.N. charter) and presents a compelling narrative in which the founding of these institutions was a natural extension of Roosevelt's New Deal philosophy. Borgwardt draws a parallel between the New Deal belief that (domestic) economic security is critical to (domestic) political stability with the post-war project of building international security through encouraging human rights worldwide.

However, Borgwardt's book should not be classified as a mere history. Meticulously researched, it sweeps a wide net, pulling from an impressive variety of sources. She adroitly and effortlessly weaves connections across a wide array of disciplines: philosophy, history, political theory, economics and sociology to name a few. The result is a thought provoking book that does tell a history, but in a manner that challenges the reader to understand these post-war institutions in many simultaneous contexts. Because of the complexity of some of the subject matter, readers will benefit from background knowledge in some of these fields, especially economics or political theory. Nonetheless, the book stands on its own as well.

In our current political context in which multi-lateralism has become a dirty word in Washington, this book is even more timely and valuable. A must read for anyone seeking to understand the post WWII world order, the history of human rights, or the history of America's role in world politics. A recommended read for anyone else.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Rogers on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Borgwardt begins "A New Deal for the World" with a dramatic narrative describing a meeting between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In August 1941, the two Allied leaders shook hands for the first time on board an American warship in the Atlantic Ocean. There they drafted a public statement of Allied principles and war aims intended as a message to the nations of the world. Its rhetoric stood in stark contrast to the brutal nationalistic expansionist agendas of Germany, Japan, and Italy. The Atlantic Charter agreed upon by Roosevelt and Churchill sketched out a postwar world of free trade, national self-determination, and global peace maintained by an international organization. According to Borgwardt's analysis, the charter declared political and civil rights to be fundamental, implied that populations deserved some measure of economic justice, and suggested that individuals as well as nations had specific rights.

Many saw the charter as a ploy to win global support for the Allies through bold promises and noble rhetoric. Borgwardt suggests that even if this were the case, the charter was important because it created a new standard that the Allies would have to live up to or be labeled hypocrites. She argues that vision relayed by the Atlantic Charter inspired people fighting for freedom around the world. For instance, Nelson Mandela claimed that the charter "reaffirmed faith in the dignity of each human being" and served as an inspiration for his anti-colonial activities in South Africa (p. 29). Churchill disagreed with this broad interpretation of the document, framing its promise of national self-determination as covering only the European countries occupied by Nazi Germany, not third-world countries (particularly not colonies under British control).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terence Hegarty on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
We are perhaps just now beginning to become accustomed to understanding the Cold War as a "blip" in twentieth century history, a sort of interregnum between World War II and whatever we mean by "postmodernism." It is the signal achievement of Elizabeth Borgwardt's A New Deal for the World to trace a sort of hidden continuity named "human rights," a movement that began dimly with the Hague Conventions early in the twentieth century, took on political power in the confrontational thirties, and emerged as an ugly duckling from the strange crucible of Nuremberg -- only to be instantly driven underground by the "iron curtain" worldview so cherished by political leaders from Churchill to Reagan. Since 1989, Borgwardt seems to say, we are at last back in the mainstream, a progression once known to Americans as the "New Deal," although Americans (in particular) may be the last to acknowledge it. Borgwardt's account -- historical, legal, and economic by turns -- is richly documented with archival material from many countries (including Nazi Germany), and includes character studies that will not be forgotten, from the truly admirable but unjustly neglected American official Charles E. Merriam to the ghastly but "amiable" Hermann Goering. This is a historian's view of the grim mid twentieth century that should be assimilated and given its due as among the most coherent -- and optimistic, for lack of a more scholarly word -- accounts we have.
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