The Idea of National Interest

In This Review

The Idea of National Interest

By Charles A. Beard
Macmillan, 1934
583 pp. $3.75

One of the important books of the quarter, by a well-known historian and writer on American policy. Professor Beard describes this new book as an analytical study in American foreign policy. After examining the "pivots" of foreign policy, he takes national interest as the motive power and subjects it to a careful dissection. What is the national interest in territorial or commercial expansion? What is the national interest in foreign investments? These and similar questions are raised by the discussion. The author puts emphasis upon the fact that the beginning of the great depression gave a severe shock to the traditional ideas of expansion and Machtpolitik, but he also points out that the revolution wrought by the present administration in the question of domestic relations has not been extended to international affairs. We are back to the big naval programs, and have yet a long way to go before a new conception of national interest has been completely evolved.

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