sinking oi the Lusitania in May 1915,nBryan reminded the President and bynimplication his two confidants, EdwardnHouse and Robert Lansing, what truenAmerican neutrality would have consistednof.n1 o understand the American interpretationnof neutrality, it is necessary, asnGeorge Kennan and John Lukacs havensuggested, to look at the cultural fectorsnthat shaped political decisions. Wilson,nHouse, Lansing, and Roosevelt all identifiednthemselves strongly with Britishncivilization. Wilson, who admired thenEnglish parliamentary system and then19th-century Prime Minister WilliamnGladstone, repeatedly stressed thenshared Anglo-American heritage. He,nHouse, and Lansing associated themselvesneagerly with the Imperial School,nwhich flourished at Yale, Harvard, andnPrinceton around the turn of the century.nThis historical school explained thenAmerican Revolution as an unfortunatenblunder, caused by hotheads likenThomas Jeflferson and Sam Adams in thencolonies and by the cabinet governmentnof Lord North in England. The dean ofnthe Imperial School, Charles Louis Beer,nwas one of Wilson’s advisers who wentnwith him to the postwar conference atnVersailles. It may be hard for Americansnto realize any longer the depth andnprevalence of Anglophilia in early 20thcenturynAmerica. Despite the German,nIrish, Scandinavian, and Central Europeannimmigrations in the 19th century,nthe political and social elites in pre-nWorld War I America still viewed themselvesnculturally and ethnically asnEnglish. This self-labeling was significantlynshared by important people: e.g.,nthe Presbyterian southerner Wilson, thenNew York descendant of Dutchmen,nTheodore Roosevelt, and even the NewnEngland opponent of the League ofnNations John Cabot Lodge, who hadnbacked England fervently during thenwar.nAlthough neither Cooper nor Gardnernshows interest in the broader culturalncontext of America’s entry into thenwar or in the problematic nature ofnAmerican neutrality, both dwell tendentiouslynon Wilson’s adventurism innMexico. Cooper, who draws the morensympathetic picture of Wilson, sees him,nhowever, as chastened by his Mexicannfiasco and prepared for his grandern(more progressive ) role in the Europeannstruggle. By contrast, Gardner depictsnWilson’s feuding with the Mexicanndictator Victoriano Huerta as the keystonenof his foreign policy. Gardner, angenerally pro-Soviet historian of thenCold War, has criticized FDR for beingnexcessively antagonistic to Stalin. In thisnvolume he reduces Wilson’s involvementnwith Europe to a mere sideshow,nthe main American objective in 1914nbeing the imperialist subjugation of LatinnAmerica. As a student of William ApplemannWilliams and a product of thenWisconsin School of Revisionism whichnpioneered “Marxist” interpretations ofnAmerican diplomacy, Gardner presentsnWilson as subservient to business interests.nYet, Gardner does not revivenEugene Debs’s older American socialistnview of Wilson’s European Crusade as annattempt to save J. P. Morgan’s loans tonEngland. The Debsian view was at leastnplausible, but grossly oversimplified.nGardner, on the other hand, appealsnentirely to leftist faith, proposing thatnWilson sent armies into Europe to reachnnnLatin America through the back door.nWhile Gardner is on shaky ground inndiscussing Europe, his treatment ofnMexico, as a victim of Wilsonian imperialism,nis even more misleading.nWilson dispatched American troops tonVeracruz in April 1914 for reasons thatnChris Dodd would have appreciated fernmore than James Bumham. He intendednto topple Huerta’s right-wing autocracynand to restore the principles of thenMexican Revolution of 1910. The Revolution,nwhich Wilson applauded, outlawednthe Catholic Church and expropriatednlatifiindia, supposedly to dividenthe lands among the peasantry. Wilsonnhad badgered the first revolutionarynpresident Francisco Madero for notnpushing agrarian reform hard enough.nWhen Huerta, who allied himself withnlandowners, overthrew and executednMadero in February 1913, Wilsonnlooked for an excuse to intervene. Thenoccupation of Veracruz, which tooknplace on the pretext of a slight to Americannhonor, caused Huerta to resign; hisnopponent, who succeeded him withnAmerican support, Venustiano Carranza,npromised to restore the revolutionarynregime. Unfortunately Carranza’s rival,nthe adventurous bandit, Pancho Villa,nrefused to cooperate and raided borderntowns in New Mexico. After Villa recklesslynmassacred 16 American minenengineers, Pershing crossed the border,nwith several thousand soldiers, tonpursue him. Soon the punitive expeditionnalso faced the armies of Carranza,nwho unexpectedly turned against hisnAmerican sponsors. The hapless Americannexpeditionary force wanderednthrough Northern Mexico, until ansettlement was made several monthsnlater to retrieve them.nAccording to Gardner, Wilson’snaggressive behavior in Mexico set thentone for American foreign policy fromn1914 on. Gardner is right, though not fornthe reasons that he gives. A combinationnof doctrinaire democratic idealism andnoperational ineptitude has wroughtnhavoc on American foreign policynil7nNovember 1984n