Alex Bryne submitted his PhD in American Studies and History at the University of Nottingham in 2017. His thesis traces the history of the Monroe Doctrine during the early twentieth century and addresses the relationship between notions of national security, regional hegemony, and Pan-Americanism.

Using primary sources from ‘Confidential Print: North America, 1824-1961' - an Adam Matthew collection: Represented in the American Hemisphere: The United Kingdom, the Rise of Pan-Americanism, and the Canadian Question

In 1990, Canada became a fully-fledged member of the Organization of American States (OAS). Whilst the diplomatic implications of joining an inter-American political system were obvious, Canadian membership additionally symbolised that Pan-Americanism now encompassed the sovereign British dominion. Although it remains a contested concept, Pan-Americanism is the idea that the nations of the Americas ought to cooperate for mutual benefit because they share a distinct inter-American relationship that separates them from the rest of the world. Continue reading

Book Review: Legalist Empire: International Law and American Foreign Relations in the Early Twentieth Century by Benjamin Allen Coates

Benjamin Coates convincingly demonstrates that, during the first two decades of the twentieth century, international lawyers helped shaped the ascendency of the United States and justified the expansion of its empire among governmental policy makers and within wider intellectual discourses. Driven by a desire to put ‘international law into the history of American empire, and the history of empire into international law,’ Coates successfully collates disparate scholarship that has, until now, been scattered across several disciplines (5). Continue reading

Book Review: Cooperation and Hegemony in US-Latin American Relations: Revisiting the Western Hemisphere Idea edited by Juan Pablo Scarfi and Andrew R. Tillman

The Western Hemisphere idea has never taken a hold upon scholars of United States-Latin American relations as much as it perhaps ought to have. Formulated by Thomas Jefferson in 1813 and given notable scholarly treatment by historian Arthur Whitaker in the 1950s, the Western Hemisphere idea posits that the peoples of the Western Hemisphere ‘stand in a special relationship to one another’, which in turn ‘sets them apart from the rest of the world.’ Continue reading

Book Review: Grover Cleveland’s New Foreign Policy: Arbitration, Neutrality, and the Dawn of American Empire by Nick Cleaver

Rather than viewing his presidency with the war in mind as the end point of all post-Civil War foreign policy, Nick Cleaver presents an intriguing re-examination of the president and his two chief policy makers, Walter Gresham and Richard Olney, which argues that his foreign policy was formulated with a distinct vision of how the United States should conduct itself in the world that was different from both his predecessors and successors. Continue reading

Celebrating Neutrality? What We Can Expect from America’s Ongoing Centennial Commemorations of the “European War” (WWI)

Will the sacrifices of the dead suddenly take on a new importance as the one hundred year mark passes? Will American neutrality continue to be highlighted alongside the United States’ absence from the causes of the war, separating the nation from its European counterparts? Continue reading

60 Seconds With Alex Bryne

What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

“I would have to say that it was when I found out I had been granted funding for my PhD. I remember feeling relieved that I was going to be able to support myself financially during my PhD and it made me think that I might actually have the skills and qualities required to become a historian. I was in such a state of disbelief that I had to email the School to confirm that they had offered the funding to the correct applicant!” Continue reading

Historians at Play: American History in Modern Board Games

“Putting Freedom back into the spotlight, it offers a unique way to physically interact with the issue of slavery. The mechanics of the game are assigned to a real history and the slaves that the players cannot save represent the real slaves that were doomed a fate that the game leaves to the players’ imagination. Physically moving the slaves around the United States, represented by simple wooden cubes, makes it difficult not to treat the slaves as objects.” Continue reading