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Statecraft and Salvation
Wilsonian Liberal Internationalism as Secularized Eschatology
By Milan Babík
Understanding Woodrow Wilson’s approach to international relations requires acknowledgment of his Protestant faith. In Statecraft and Salvation, Milan Babík delivers a fresh analysis of Wilson’s progressive international political thought by examining it within the broader context of the American liberal tradition. The progressive belief that the world in general, and Europe in particular, could achieve peace carried with it a secular hope and a Christian eschatological vision for the future. Babík contends that the ultimate result of this belief devolved to serve a more totalitarian agenda. Statecraft and Salvation traces Wilson’s “New Democracy” to liberal internationalism as an effort distinctly shaped by his faith.
The Two Utopianisms: Wilsonian Liberal Internationalism vs. Secularized Eschatology
1 From Providence to Progress
2 Secularization and Totalitarian Movements
Probing the Limits of the Concept
3 The Eschatological Origins of the American Republic
Millennialism in Colonial America
4 “Manifest Destiny”
Secularized Eschatology in the Nineteenth-Century United States
5 The (Not So) Conservative Millennialist
Woodrow Wilson and History as Orderly Progress Toward Liberty
6 “To Release Mankind from the Intolerable Things of the Past”
Wilson’s Wartime Statecraft as a Mission to Redeem the World
(Re)Integrating the Two Utopianisms: Wilsonian Liberal Internationalism as Secularized Eschatology
“...Babík argues succinctly and with verve…”
—R.M. Paddags, Ashland University, Choice (51:9, May 2014)
“Although a reading of Wilsonian liberal internationalism that reduces it entirely to a secularized version of Christian biblical promise may not be persuasive to everyone, Babík lends powerful support to an argument that these days is far too often dismissed.”
—Tony Smith, Cornelia Jackson Professor of Political Science, Tufts University and author of the expanded version of America's Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy
“Milan Babík’s Statecraft and Salvation makes the most powerful case that I know of for the influence of religious belief in Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy."
—Frank Ninkovich, Professor of History, St. John's University and author of Global Dawn: The Cultural Foundation of American Internationalism, 1865-1900
“Statecraft and Salvation argues that Wilson’s political and religious utopianism were two sides of the same coin and shows how U.S. diplomatic and intellectual history may be productively examined together.”
—Akira Iriye, Charles Warren Professor of American History, Emeritus, Harvard University
"This book adds greatly to the study of international history by placing yet another foundation stone in the scholarly understanding of the relationship between theology and political thought. It is a welcome addition to the scholarship of international history."
—Malcolm D. Magee, The Review of Politics (76:3), Michigan State University
Milan Babík is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Williams College.