JOHN HAY: GENTLEMAN AS DIPLOMAT by Kenton J. Clymer

The book seems to be an outgrowth of the author’s graduate school Ph.D dissertation. Clymer reviews Hay’s ideological development and comes to the conclusion he was typical of his age as he held strong racial and cultural views that sought to expand Anglo-Saxon influence in the world. In discussing Hay’s career outside of diplomacy the reader is presented with a hard nosed business type who vehemently disliked labor unions, in part because he did not trust the Irish and was an extreme Anglophile. Hay’s role in the diplomatic issues of the period are presented in detail and are somewhat dated as the book was published in 1975. Issues such as Panama, the open door to China, boundary disputes with Canada and others are seen from Hay’s prism and other figures of the period. One of the more interesting chapters deals with Hay’s relationship with Teddy Roosevelt. The author concludes that Hay had one foot in the 19th century and one foot in the 20th, but he tried not to be totally drawn into the bombastic nationalism that afflicted the United States after the Spanish-American War. Since the book is somewhat dated he would direct anyone interested in reading about John Hay to a new biography due out around May 20, 2013 by John Taliaffero.

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