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Foundations of the American CenturyThe Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power$
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Inderjeet Parmar

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231146296

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231146296.001.0001

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The Significance of Foundations in U.S. Foreign Policy

The Significance of Foundations in U.S. Foreign Policy

(p.1) 1 The Significance of Foundations in U.S. Foreign Policy
Foundations of the American Century

Inderjeet Parmar

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents an overview of the analysis on the impact of American foundations—particularly the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation—on U.S. foreign affairs. Philanthropic foundations have been a key means of building an American imperium—a hegemony constructed via cultural and intellectual penetration. This American imperium can be tracked in three overlapping but distinct stages. In the first stage, from the 1920s to the 1950s, these foundations established liberal internationalism, marginalized isolationism, and institutional capacities of the federal government, especially in foreign affairs, at the domestic level. During the second stage, from the 1930s to the 1970s, these foundations enabled the integration of American and foreign elites, and developed formal and informal international organizations. By the turn of the third stage, these foundations reconceptualized American hegemony, promoted democracy, and fostered “democratic challenges” to neoliberal globalization. These foundations, however, failed to alleviate poverty, raise mass living standards, or better educate people.

Keywords:   American foundations, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, U.S. foreign affairs, American imperium, liberal internationalism, marginalized isolationism, federal government, international organizations

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