Dean Acheson and the Creation of an American World Order

Dean Acheson
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Dean Acheson, Secretary of State delivers a speech during Korea war Washington Stock Footage

Don't have an account? Organization of American Historians members Sign in via society site. Sign in via your Institution Sign in. Purchase Subscription prices and ordering Short-term Access To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. Email alerts New issue alert. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. Related articles in Google Scholar. Acheson was an indifferent student at Groton and Yale, concerned more about enjoying himself than about studies.

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Upon entering Harvard Law School in , Acheson finally began to take education and life more seriously. One of the key factors in this change, according to McMahon, was the first of Acheson's mentors: Frankfurter was a professor at Harvard Law who took Acheson under his wing and both encouraged his abilities and facilitated his career. From these three men, two of whom Frankfurter and Holmes became personal friends, Acheson developed the self-confidence and the belief system that guided his future career. From Holmes he learned the importance of factual precision and pragmatism; from Frankfurter the importance of allowing evidence to shape conclusions.

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McMahon persuasively argues throughout the later chapters that these qualities shaped Acheson's actions throughout his career in Washington. It was a career that almost died prematurely after Acheson's stint at the Treasury Department in His legal convictions led to a clash with Franklin Roosevelt over the president's gold-purchase plan, which led to Acheson's resignation after six months.

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This compact and accessible biography critically assesses the life and career of Dean Acheson, one of America's foremost diplomats and strategists. As a top. Robert J. McMahon, Washington, DC, Potomac Books, , xii + pp. Robert McMahon's accessible biography of Dean Acheson is the first.

But those six months in public service addicted Acheson to participation in the government. Although he would spend the next nine years as a successful lawyer, Acheson never again enjoyed the law as much as "the flypaper of government service" p. He rebuilt bridges with President Roosevelt by coauthoring, with Benjamin Cohen, a legal brief that justified Roosevelt's decision to transfer fifty destroyers to the British in return for lease rights to bases in the Western Hemisphere.

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Turning Points in Ending the Cold War. Kennan Bray Hammond Leonard D. Contact Contact Us Help. Chapter two discusses Acheson's career as assistant and then undersecretary of state from to Although he maintained his role as a firm anti-communist, he was attacked by various anti-communists for not taking a more active role in attacking communism abroad and domestically, rather than hew to his policy of containment of communist expansion. Cabinet of President Harry S. Acheson believed the best way to contain Stalin's Communism and prevent future European conflict was to restore economic prosperity to Western Europe, to encourage interstate cooperation there, and to help the U.

By using the law to justify rather than hamper presidential action, Acheson regained Roosevelt's good graces, leading to his appointment as assistant secretary of state for economic affairs in February Chapter two discusses Acheson's career as assistant and then undersecretary of state from to Despite serving much of this time under secretaries who were not as effective or as distinguished as Acheson would have liked Cordell Hull, Edward Stettinius, and James Byrnes , Acheson began to play an increasingly important role in developing policy. As assistant secretary for economic affairs, he was responsible for interpreting "FDR's loosely defined oil embargo directive of July If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.

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