Chapter Three Manifest Destiny and American Antecedents

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China became a major recipient of U.S. technical assistance in the last half of the nineteenth century and by the 1890s the country had “witnessed a fully developed mission the outcome of which was determined by conditions in the country that requested it - China. [China] had come to realize the great need for the improvement in agriculture in [the] country.”85 Chinese leaders who said they were appreciative of the advantages offered by improved agricultural methods of the West were determined in 1887 to establish a model farm and school based on the American example in which the latest and best appliances, technology and methods used in the United States might be made the basis of Chinese scientific agriculture.

The nature of U.S. involvement in China would have significant implications for foreign aid policy in Asia after the Second World War. In China, as in so many parts of the world, technical assistance followed the missionaries who had already an established an active presence in the country. Missionary activity, as early as the nineteenth century, targeted education and health issues in China. As Walter Sharp has noted:
Since the turn of the century, the medical and educational phases of Christian foreign missions appear in some areas (e.g. China) to have dwarfed in importance their accomplishments in religious evangelism. Mission schools, for better or for worse, have opened the door for Western knowledge for the young intellectuals of Asia and Africa.86
Efforts in China after World War I represent an early example of popular education as a development tool. Voluntary associations sent tractor teams to China in the 1930s to teach the populations there the techniques of mechanized agriculture. 87 In China as in many other countries, privately funded technical assistance continued to play a major role between the two World Wars. According to Sharp:
American social idealism has had a unique outlet in the forward-looking programs of the great private foundations and their subsidiary bodies. The constructive work of the Rockefeller Foundation, for example - in tropical medicine, in rural reconstruction in China, in the advancement of the physical and social sciences, in the provision of foreign training opportunities for promising young scholars - has produced beneficent effects impossible to measure in monetary terms.88
Technical assistance in China focused on a number of issues in the 1930s and 1940s. Among the many technical enterprises that the China Foundation, founded in 1911 in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion, promoted was an intense soil survey, which was entrusted to the National Geological Survey of China.89 Other technical missions were sponsored by American private foundations.


Peoples’ Education90
Y.C. James Yen was born in 1893, out of a Christian family and was U.S. educated at Princeton. He was recruited by the YMCA to work with Chinese rural peasants sent to France during World War I. James Yen, whose name is linked with popular education in Asia, created the people’s school approach in the 1920s. After the First World War, Yen returned to China convinced that adult education was the key to development. Several of Yen’s colleagues were also American educated. In 1928, Yen was able to raise $500,000 from donors in the United States. People’s education, a form of popular, adult education, provided a mission for China’s rural residents.
In 1935, the Rockefeller Foundation announced a program of annual support for rural reconstruction in China. Yen helped found the Chinese-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction funded jointly by the American and Chinese governments to fund projects in agriculture, irrigation, cooperative organizations, public health, literacy and land reform after World War II. When China fell to the Communists, Yen’s experiment in China ended, but he later established similar centers in Taiwan and the Philippines.

Political advisors became common in the early twentieth century. In China, between the two World Wars, “Dr. Frank J. Goodnow, a distinguished political scientist of the Johns Hopkins University, accepted a post as constitutional advisor to the government.”91 Goodnow effectively wrote the first constitution of Republican China in 1914 became an important influence on governance in China and one of several major civilian players in the China theatre. Frank Goodnow left a deep impression on many of the Chinese leaders, some of whom later applied these ideas to Taiwan. As an intellectual conservative, Goodnow took an active part in what would later become the Chinese lobby in the debate about U.S. policy towards the Chinese civil war.

Three years after the end of World War II, “[m]ost traumatic of all for the American mission field was the experience in China.”92 Establishment of Communist rule in 1948 shocked those who had invested so much energy and time in missionary work there. The fall of China plus the fall of Czechoslovakia to the Communists shocked policy makers to commit to what became the Marshall Plan and also the witch hunts of the McCarthy movement. Both symbolized the sense of loss and concern that defined the Cold War in the United States.
One can learn much about U.S. foreign aid policy during the period prior to 1948. It’s all there: missionaries, concern with terms of trade, idealism and balance of power calculations. What was not there was the volume of financial transfers that would come into being after 1948 with the Marshall Plan and Truman’s Point Four Program. Nor would one find the bureaucratization and projectization that would all but eliminate flexibility and creativity as components of U.S. foreign aid. This began in the post-war period with the announcement of the Point Four Program.
What preceded the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War were the developmental dilemmas and moral ambiguities built into the modernization concept, pushed by both colonialists and developmentalists alike. It was these dilemmas which would deepen as the U.S. entered the period of modern foreign aid after 1945. The development of foreign aid was ultimately however a product of the two great World Wars of the twentieth century. It is to these developments that we now turn.


1 Margaret Leech, In the Days of McKinley (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959), p. 326.

2 John Franklin Campbell, The Foreign Affairs Fudge Factory (New York: Basic Books, 1971), p. 178.

3 Ralph Linton, “An Anthropologist Views Point Four,” in American Perspetive, (Spring, 1950), p. 115. Article, pp.113-121.


 Harlan Cleveland, Gerard J. Mangone, John Clarke Adams, The Overseas Americans (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960), p. 227.

5 Steven W. Hook, National Interest and Foreign Aid (Boulder Col.: Lynne Rienner, 1995), p. 119.

6 For further reading: Burton I. Kaufman, ed., Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century (Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1969).

7 Joseph N. Weatherby, et al., The Other World: Issues and Politics of the Developing World (New York: Longman, 2000), p. 124 and 191.

8 Robert G. Patterson, J. Garry Clifford and Kenneth J. Hagan, American Foreign Policy: A History to 1914, (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co., 1983), p. 85.

9 Tom Wicker, “ ‘His Acccidency’ John Tyler,” , in What if? America: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, Robert Cowley, ed. (London: Pan Books, 2003), p. 63.

10 Weatherby, et. al., The Other World, p. 125.

11 Margaret Leech, In the Days of McKinley (New York: Harper Brothers, 1959), p. 97.

12 Ibid., p. 324

13 Ibid., pp. 146-147.

14 Ibid., p. 206.

15 Frank Freidel, The Splendid Little War (New York: Dell Publishers, 1962), p. 9.

16 Leech, In the Days of McKinley, p. 209.

17 Legally Cuba was a Protectorate between 1898 and 1934 and effectively until 1959.

18 David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977).

19 Most figures come from the 2000 U.S. Census. Statistics on U.S. dependencies provided by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior Website and other U.S. Government Sources. Areas without Federal status include commonwealths, incorporated and unincorporated states and associated states. The table excludes unpopulated areas. Associated states are independent but the U.S. controls their foreign and defense policy, territories are dependent states with partly representative institutions, the commonwealth status represents a situation similar to that of a state but lacking certain privileges and is similar to an associated state. Independent countries are internationally recognized as such and have United Nations representation.

20 See Stanley Karnow’s delightful book, In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines (New York: Ballantine Books, 1990), for a discussion of the U.S. administration in the Philippines.

21 For the historical significance of the Platt Amendment see Herbert L. Mathews, Castro: A Political Biography (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1969), pp. 40-41.

22 Weatherby, et al. The Other World, p. 125.

23 American settlement, territorial status and statehood effectively changed Hawaii’s status as a dependent territory but this does not change its colonial origins.

24 Leech, In the Days of McKinley, p. 211.

25 Ibid., p. 290.

26 Hertsgaard, The Eagle’s Shadow, p. 16.

27 David McCullough, John Adams (New York: Simon & Shuster Touchstone Books, 2001).

28 See Gore Vidal, Imperial America : Reflections on the United States of Amnesia (Thunder's Mouth: Nation Books, 2004) for an amusing discussion of this.

29 Most importantly Ira Sharkansky, The United States:A Study of a Developing Country (New York: David McKay, 1975).

30 John D, Montgomery, Aftermath: Tarnished Outcomes of American Foreign Policy (Dover, Mass.: Auburn House Publishing Company, 1985), p. 121.

31 Hook, National Interest and Foreign Aid, p. 121. See also Lancaster, Foreign Aid, p. 26.

32 Thomas G. Paterson, J. Garry Clifford, and Kenneth J. Hagan, American Foreign Policy: A History to 1914 (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1988), p. 55.

33 Leech, In the Days of McKinley, p. 258.

34 Waldemar A. Nielsen, The Golden Donors: A New Anatomy of the Great Foundations (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1989) provides a discussion of this.

35 A Reference Volume on Technical Assistance Programs with Particular Emphasis on the Work and Responsibilities of Voluntary Agencies, Study Sponsored by the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service (Washington D.C.: May, 1953), p. 2.

36 Philip M. Glick, The administration of Technical Assistance: Growth in the Americas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), pp. 4-5.

37 See Daniel Bergner, “The Call: The Post-Colonial Missionary,” New York Times Magazine (January 29, 2006).

38 Merle Curti and Kendall Birr, Prelude to Point Four: American Technical Missions Overseas (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1954), p. 8.

39 Ibid., p. 16.

40 Stephen E. Ambrose, Undaunted Courage : Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).

41 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 12.

42 Ibid., p. 11.

43 Ibid., p. 18.

44 Ibid., p. 143.

45 Ibid., p. 37

46 Ibid., p. 146.

47 See Ibid., pp. 11-37.

48 Quoting Edward C. Parker. Parker served as an agricultural expert in Manchuria between 1908 and 1911. See Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 36.

49 Ibid., p. 4.

50 The Pan American Union itself, later the Organization of American States, was founded in 1889-90 and began as a bureau to compile commercial statistics and data on customs laws. See Walter R. Sharp, International Technical Assistance (Chicago: Public Administration Service, 1952), p. 11.

51 Ibid., p. 13.


 Ibid., p. 160.

53 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 204.


 Ibid., p. 81.


 Ibid., p. 84.


 Ibid., p. 98.


 Ibid., p. 92.


 Ibid., p. 92.

59 Louis Ward Kemp, Highway Diplomacy: The United States and the Inter-American Highway (Washington D.C.: PhD Dissertation, George Washington University, September 10, 1989), pp. 65-75.

60 Ibid., p. 113.


 Ibid., p. 119.


 Ibid., p. 120.


 Ibid., p. 163.

64 See Daniel Bergner, “The Call,” for a discussion of missionaries in lesser developed countries in the early twentieth century.

65 Deborah Scroggins, Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam, and the Politics of Oil- A True Story of Love and Death in the Sudan (New York: Pantheon Books, 2002), p. 337.

66 Harlan Cleveland, Gerard J. Mangone, John Clarke Adams, The Overseas Americans (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960), p. 85.

67 David Sogge, Give and Take: What’s the Matter with Foreign Aid? (London: Zed Books, 2002), p. 24.

68 Sogge, Give and Take, p. 144.

69 Sharp, International Technical Assistance, p. 3.


 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 196.


 George Liska, The New Statecraft: Foreign Aid in American Foreign Policy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 24.

72 Cleveland, et al., The Overseas Americans, p. 269

73 Sharp, International Technical Assistance, p. 4. In 2006, the head of the Harbor of Monroeville, Liberia was an American.


 Bill Berkeley, The Graves Are Not Yet Full: Race, Tribe and Power in the Heart of Africa (New York: Basic Books, 2001), p. 29.

75 J.Gus Liebenow, Liberia: The Evolution of Privilege (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1969), pp. 3-4.

76 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 66.

77 Liebenow, Liberia, p. 30-31.

78 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 67.


 Ibid., p. 69 -70.

80 Blaine Harden, Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990), pp. 236-237.


 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 22.


 Ibid., p. 183.

83 Dankwart A. Rustow, Middle Eastern Political Systems (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971), pp. 79-85.

84 Sharp, International Technical Assistance, p. 2.


 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 28.

86 Sharp, International Technical Assistance, p. 2.

87 A Reference Volume on Technical Assistance Programs with Particular Emphasis on the Work and Responsibilities of Voluntary Agencies, Study Sponsored by the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service (Washington D.C.: May, 1953), p. 7-8.


 Sharp, International Technical Assistance, p. 2.

89 The China Foundation remains very active in China sponsoring health and education projects particularly in the rural areas. The China foundation works both in China and Taiwan.

90 This was based on James B. Mayfield, Go to the People: Releasing the Rural Poor Through the People’s School System Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press, 1986) and on a discussion with Professor Mayfield. The China project was abandoned when the Communists came to power in 1949. Elements of the idea were transferred to the Philippines and other Asian countries in the 1950s and 1960s.


 Curti and Birr, Prelude to Point Four, p. 147.

92 Cleveland, et al., The Overseas Americans, p. 87.

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