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Event name

Historian Author Talk—Dr. Thomas Zeiler


Wed 06 / 07 / 2023
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM



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Historian Author Talk—Thomas W. Zeiler, author of Capitalist Peace: 
A History of American Free-Trade Internationalism

A new occasional event initiated by the History and Biography Affinity Group is a presentation and discussion of an important history/biography book by its author. Our guest speaker will be Thomas W. Zeiler, whose Capitalist Peace: A History of American Free-Trade Internationalism, presents a wide-ranging history of modern America that argues that free trade has been an engine of U.S. foreign policy and the key to global prosperity. Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt took office during the Great Depression, the United States has linked trade to its long-term diplomatic objectives and national security. Free trade, in short, was a cornerstone of an ideology of “capitalist peace.” Covering nearly a century, Capitalist Peace provides the first chronologically sweeping look at the intersection of trade and diplomacy. Drawing on new research from the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush presidential libraries, as well as business/industry and civic association archives, Zeiler narrates this history from the road to World War II, through the Cold War, to the resurgent protectionism of the Trump era and up to the present. Offering a new interpretation of diplomatic history, Capitalist Peace shows how U.S. power, interest, and values were projected into the international arena even as capitalism brought both positive and negative results to the global order.

Dr. Zeiler is a professor of history and international affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he directs the Global Studies Academic Program. He served as President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and as editor of Its journal, Diplomatic History.


The next Author Talk is planned for October and will feature Frank Costigliola whose new book, Kennan: A Life Between Two Worlds, offers a fresh perspective on U.S. diplomat George Kennan, who advocated a policy of containment of Soviet expansion during the Cold War. This topic certainly calls for a reexamination.